Posts Tagged With: Morning


Always Ready to Party

I pass this house on my bike rides either coming or going. I slow down as I pedal past. I try not to stare but it’s difficult not to. You see, it’s still a bit dark when I’m going past and strands of white twinkle lights light up the yard. That’s not something you normally see on an October morning.

I should mention it’s the back yard, not the front. I have no idea what the front of this house looks like. I should ride over that way and see sometime, I suppose. Many of these homes were modestly built out of cinderblock during the fifties, nearly identical inside and out.  Quarter or half-acre lots back up to this part of the trail which serves as a power line easement and passes backyards filled with dozens of stories and even more questions.

This particular back yard captures my imagination and holds it hostage.

Photo by Codo (The passion of the mariachi) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ( ], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Codo (The passion of the mariachi) [CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the slowly brightening sky the outline of a mariachi band plays against the twinkle lights. More specifically, life-sized, rusty looking metal statues of a mariachi band face the back of the house. There’s no actual music. But the feeling of a song just ended hangs in the yard like a fine morning mist.

Several matching rust colored umbrellas stand at ease amid various patio tables. A small swimming pool reflects light on to heavy tied-back patio curtains.

In contrast to the perfectly manicured yard and setting, two vintage cars and a small lawn tractor sit nearby. A row of desert trees skirt along a white fence.

I imagine that on closer inspection I’d find a more than adequate barbecue set up, a fire pit and a mini bar.

The interior of the house usually stands dark and silent. Oh, how I’ve wanted to stop and take a photo. But that seems intrusive and paparazzi-ish. So I haven’t any images to share. I hold only a mental photograph I snap every single time I ride past. Somehow, I’m sure, a photograph wouldn’t capture the vision I see and feel.

While walking in the ordinary light of day past this home the magic pull of this back yard holds far less sway on me. It’s just another backyard in the sunshine. I’m not sure what it is but there’s something about the pre-dawn light that makes it all feel as if someone just sprinkled pixie dust over the entire site.

Photo by MzScarlett / A.K.A. Michelle from Missouri (Ice Tea) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by MzScarlett / A.K.A. Michelle from Missouri (Ice Tea) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In that early morning hour I sense I’ve always just missed the last snippets of a long night of whispered conversations, laughter, ice clinking in glasses and wet footprints leading away from the pool. I suspect I’ve missed out on serpentine stories and long jokes with intelligent punchlines. The only taste I get of the party just finished hovers lightly as the scent of creosote in the chill early air.

Do I think this household throws a party every night that last long into the wee hours? No, not at all.

What I do think is they have managed to capture the essence of a nightly party and hold it there in a quarter-acre space. It must conjure wonderful memories to look out from the kitchen window of that home and see ghosts of guests long since departed. What joy it must bring to remember, amid the twinkle lights, friendships and family, chatter and music, stars and breezes.

Clearly I’ve romanticized and idealized what happens at this home. Whatever really goes on, whoever really lives there, I don’t want to know. I’d rather keep what I’ve imagined and call it truth.

I wonder if I could create something similar. Surely I don’t need a metal mariachi band to capture that sense of excitement and wonder at daily life. Maybe something as simple as candlelight and music softly playing at dinner, even if it’s meatloaf on the menu. Perhaps a strand of twinkle lights draped along the patio and plugged in every night, party or not, just for the sake of celebrating life.

I’ll have to give this more thought. Is this just a Better Homes and Gardens or House Beautiful photo shoot I’ve stumbled on and can’t possibly recreate? Or is there something real there, something in the idea of celebration that I could blend into my daily walk and talk? It’s an intriguing idea.

Party on, my friends, party on.


“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” 

– John Lubbock

Categories: Celebration, Family, Fun, good ideas, Holiday | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Certain Angle of Light

photo 3-5 copy 4Moisture pushes ahead of the straggling remnants of hurricanes limping far inland from the Pacific, bumping up against the northern and eastern mountains.

photo 1-5 copy 6A traffic jam of clouds fills the sky with swirling masses of whites, grays and blues.

photo 4-3 copy 10Cloud sculptures twist and swirl while light plays a melody in concert with the sound of distant geese calling out their imminent arrival.

photo 2-4 copy 3Dozens upon dozens of rabbits rush around drawing too much attention to themselves,  making use of the cooler morning hours.

photo 1-6 copy 3Sun breaks through the tangled muss of fluff with bits of light but little color.

photo 2-3 copy 5

Small birds twitter, tap, chatter, sing, peep, mimic, flit, flutter, flap, hum and tweet.

photo 4-5 copyLarger birds sit in silent patience.

photo 3-6 copy

A pair of hawks sweep low and silent along a path searching for the unaware and unwarned.

photo 1-5 copy 6I walk, finding more than animals, birds, sky, water, shades of green.

photo 2-2 copy 22I listen for solace and a different kind of silence.

photo 5 copy 4I look for something within myself as I walk the dawn.

photo 1-4 copy 20Thoughts clarify with each step I travel through this oasis.

photo-24 copy 29I gather courage and hope as I pass the creosote, palo verde and acacia.

photo 4-4 copy 2Each morning I claim sanctuary, and emboldened, face the day.

Categories: Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Not Your Usual Morning Walk

Most early mornings bring me sleepy-headed and blurry wandering through my house. I open blinds, pull back curtains and let the day in so it can rouse me. The last step in this daily ritual finds me at the front door. I ease back the lock and open the door to whatever the morning might be holding for me.

Since I’m still in pajamas  with my hair a mangled mess I stand to the side of the doorway and peer out, as if letting someone into the house. I take a deep breath, and with it take a measure of the day. Clouds on the horizon feel hopeful although experience tells me little will come of them. There might be a breeze ruffling the trees tiny leaves or a bird flinging rocks in search of bugs. The park across the street might be hosting a dog, a frisbee and its owner. The colors in the sky could be almost any sixty-four count crayon box choice or a mix of them.

This habit I’ve somehow fallen into, of opening the front door every morning, has become a great way to open up the day.

photo-11 copy 10Some mornings, not very often, I feel pulled outside in spite of my state of undress and pillow ruffled hair. I might step out at the sound of a surprising bird call or a bit of rain, although the rain seldom happens in the morning here. I might venture out to look at a new bloom or an insect working its way across the porch rug. Whatever the cause for my foray past the lintel I have entered the outside world and broken the morning spell.

I live on a busy neighborhood through-street and keep myself within a few quick steps of the doorway, making it easy to disappear from view should a car drive past. The last thing I want is to come face to face, or face to car, still bleary-eyed and unprepared for the day. For those few moments I like to imagine I’m alone in my morningness, waking early, deliberately and mindfully.

On such mornings, when I do step back inside through the front door, I step through a door of anticipation. After such a beginning, a pair of birds chattering, a cat slinking about, a soft scent in the air, a dog running past down the street, the sheen of dew on the grass, the day holds only promise and possibility.

Instead of the usual feel of dullness my to-do list brings, I find on its page opportunity and meaning. The hurriedness of the day fades into a looking forward, to an excitement at the challenge of meeting deadlines. The usual aches and worries of the day sift through a screen door of anticipation and become evidence of a life rich with purpose and promise.

Categories: Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Listening to the Sun Rise

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to a morning begin.

Woke from a frightening dream last night and never did get back to sleep. So when first light began to push the night away I stepped outside.

Surprisingly a cool mid-April breeze blows through our suburban southwest neighborhood. I forget how cold the mornings can feel in the dry desert air.

Abert's Towhee ( Pipilo aberti)

Abert’s Towhee (Photo credit: Alan Vernon.)

The mix of Grackle screeching, Inca Dove cooing, Finch twitter, Cactus Wren whistle, Sparrow cheeping, Hummingbird buzzing and chipping, and Towhee calls seemed oddly loud in the early morning silence.

Then a car drove past and the bird sounds were nearly inaudible in the wake of engine noise. Not thirty seconds later, the bird sounds took over the morning’s orchestrations and filled the chill air with their busy conversation.

I’ve wished I spoke bird on more than one occasion. Do they complain about the noisy neighbors or the fretful chick that kept them awake? Do they discus their busy day ahead, the long to-do list of twig gathering, bug capturing, water hunting, territory guarding? Do they need to nudge the spouse again and again, finally resorting to singing a bit off-key to get him or her out of the nest? Is there a honey-do list for one to the other that needs details added? Do the teen birds complain about breakfast being the same old bugs again? Who knows? It’s fun to imagine though.

Or is it really just a rose-colored glasses kind of morning for them every single day of the year, happy songs, cheerful melodies, worry-free existence? I somehow don’t think it’s that either.

English: Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curv...

Curve-billed Thrasher  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The breeze picks up and with it the added tones of my windchime swirl about the air with the various bird sounds. As the light increases so does the bird chatter and real sightings of birds. A hummingbird angles in to the feeder hanging near my porch swing. After a quick sip it darts back into the nearby tree to watch for interlopers. A curve-billed Thrasher swoops in and lands in the rocks and begin its messy morning work of flinging rocks on my sidewalk and driveway in search of tasty bugs. Eat all you want, I say under my breath.

English: Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), Cali...

Killdeer  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a bird that looks and acts surprisingly like a Killdeer in the park across the street. Seems like an odd spot to see one. Not really a nest-friendly place for a ground nest builder. Hmm. I’ll have to research that one later today.

The sun glares out over the horizon, no golden orange, no clouds to shift the light to various shades and hues. Just the burst of sudden light, strong and almost loud in its brightness. The sky seems a whitish blue, cold, thin and stark. Not sure what that means for the day ahead. Not sure I want to know.

Not many more of these gentle Spring mornings are left. Soon the early hours will be warm and then turn hot quickly as the sun breaks its night moorings. Summer’s unrelenting onslaught of blasting, blazing, blaring heat will bake us all into submission, force us indoors most hours of the day. Escapes to the cool pine mountains will haunt our nights. High elevations with lower temperatures will inhabit our daydreams. Rain will be a distant wish, clouds a taunting temporary mirage.

Perhaps this is why I had a sleepless night. Perhaps I needed reminding how rare and precious these cool hours are. I’ve let mornings slip by the wayside since my January-long cough set me back. I’ve slept in too many mornings, too many days. Perhaps it’s time. Perhaps I need to wake early every day to dip my psyche in the pool of morning song and early light.

There are few better ways to begin a day than this.

Hummingbird 4

Hummingbird (Photo credit: alana sise)

The lack of sleep is catching up to me. Maybe, now that the sun is up, the morning started, the heat working its way into the air, I can catch an hour of sleep before I really have to start the day.

More than likely the pillow will lose that battle and I’ll slog through my day ahead, drowsy and fuzzy headed and ineffective. I really should get some shut eye while I can, and for the next hour, I can.

I’ll also get to bed earlier tonight. I can feel the need for another morning reverie on the horizon for tomorrow.

Categories: Nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Sun Rises on a New Day

Mornings are second chances. Another day to try to get things right.

Perhaps that’ why mornings feel so good to me. The earlier I am up, the greater the potential for getting a firm grip on the day. That, of course, requires a discipline in the evening that I seem to lack lately. Early days can’t happen if the night lasts too late.

Living with a bunch of night owls makes it tough to go to bed at a “decent” time. I don’t want to miss out on anything or anyone.

Then I see a sun rise, like this one and I’m reminded of that second chance feeling. Perhaps I need some sunrise photos displayed near my bed, to coax me under the covers.

alternate sunrise photo

There’s so much I miss in a morning when I stay in bed. Besides the sun rise, there’s the first songs the birds call out, the coolness of the air, the fresh feeling that early light bestows on every object.

And the quiet. The quiet in the morning, especially on a weekend morning, settles me in a way little else can.

My life overflows with noise. One of the most precious commodities I know is stillness, quietness, silence.

That alone should remind me that I want, no, crave, an early morning.

A second chance waits for me tomorrow.  Until then, I’ll see what I can do with the one I got this morning.

Categories: Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are you a Morning Person, a Night Owl, or a Troll?

young Long-eared owl (Asio otus), surroundings...

young Long-eared owl (Asio otus), surroundings of Warsaw, Poland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Years ago, I believed the only way to get some quiet time in my house was to wait until everyone finally, blessedly, went to bed at night.  That’s a nice theory, but  it never really worked.  Oh, I spent a handful of all-nighters where I deep cleaned and organized the kitchen, or read entire chapters of books, blissfully uninterrupted, but that was when the kids were younger than twelve and had something that resembled a schedule.  Most nights, by the time everyone, including  my sweet husband, dropped off into Neverland, I was too zoned out to remember why I was so anxious to have them all go away to bed.  If I could remember the reason I so desperately wanted complete quiet then I was too sleepy to use the time effectively or enjoy my solitude.


Then I had an epiphany!  (I love that word, don’t you?  It just rolls off your tongue.  It would make a great title for a novel and has probably been the title of a few million poems.)  Anyway, I did.  I had an epiphany.  Here it is:

I am a morning person.

That’s it!  Yes.  That’s all.  A.M.  That’s me.

Another Epiphany

P.M. That’s the rest of my family.

I’m married to a night owl and my children are all practically allergic to mornings.  Their ideal breakfast time is somewhere around noon.  Once the sun drops out of view in the western sky they kick into high gear.  Weird.

I don’t understand that.  I don’t particularly want to understand it.  But I have had to learn to live with it.

Some Adjustments Required

I’ve had to make some adjustments occasionally.  There have been those post-date, late into the wee hours of night discussions with my teens.  You MUST NOT doze off when THEY are in the mood to discuss their lives, even it’s two a.m.  Those were some of the best discussions ever.

My ideal bedtime is somewhere near sunset or shortly afterwards, but in order to foster family relationships I have let my bedtime inch toward the nether reaches of the night.  I’ve watched more MASH reruns with my sweet husband than either of us would ever publicly admit, but he has wanted my company on the couch beside him, sharing the laughter and I decided I would oblige him.  His favorite time for heartfelt discussions?  You guessed it, after ten p.m.  We finally decided to find a neutral time for potentially volatile communications, as I am not exactly emotionally stable as bedtime draws near, passes me and leaves me nodding my head in exhaustion.

Cons and Pros

Being a night person has its drawbacks if you are employed in a nine to five kind of situation, if you have children, if you have a dog, or parakeets, or if you live near a school, a park, a freeway, or other people.   Being a night person works very well if you are a college coed, a drug dealer or criminal, a law student, a med student, or you  work the swing shift.  Morning people have it a lot easier. Mostly.  Unless they live with all night people.  And I do mean ALL NIGHT.  Sigh.

The Enforcer

As you might imagine, I was always the enforcer when it came to prying the children out of bed in time to deliver them to the bus stop, the carpool, or most recently, the attendance office.  Our local high school decided to punish the parents for their children being late to school, requiring us to come into the office to sign in the child upon their late arrival.  Luckily I am a morning person and was always fully dressed for such occasions, unlike many other, obviously night people parents, who were still in some clothing resembling pajamas.  (I believe this is where the stylish idea for the messy hair look came from; night people who just couldn’t muster facing themselves in the mirror in the morning. But that is another topic altogether.)

My sweet husband has had to learn to battle his own morning demons.  As if there were such a thing as a MORNING demon!  Everyone knows demons can’t tolerate sunlight, just like trolls.

Hey, now there’s an epiphany!!

Categories: Relationships | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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