Mornings have become my favorite time of day. You see, I am a seasoned retiree. I steel myself away to our patio and am momentarily emancipated. I bring my favorite libation - a cup of freshly-brewed coffee, a few graham crackers slathered with butter, and sit in our new patio furniture. Getting used to the cool morning air and its silence is so soothing, I feel like I’m slipping into a twilight zone.
Next door, our neighbor’s rooster salutes the day with his strapping baritone, and the cackling of hens tells us fresh eggs are on the way. Quail scoot across the thick, verdant lawn, each eager to discover the morning’s delight before the next one gets it. Rabbits, some mere bunnies, hop from place to place. A pair of squirrels bounce capriciously in and out of the dwarf pine trees. We have created a paradise in the high desert and I am so happy we did.
I look at the splendor in front of me. It’s so quiet that it seems remarkable that just a few days ago a brown bear paid us a visit. He was looking for water and found a puddle in a flower bed. Next, he savored some over-ripe peaches that had fallen to the ground. As a parting shot, he stood up on his haunches and sniffed the air. Next time I saw him, he was perusing our orchard as if he owned it.
If I have brought a book with me, I open it and get the reinforcement I need for the day. Being positive when the day is about to begin, “doesn’t just fall in your lap ‘doncha’ know,’ (to be uttered with a Kentuckian drawl).
Back in my teenage years, we would go to Yosemite National Park for two weeks in the summer. Most of the time I had the time of my life. But mornings were often hard. I missed my friends as only teenagers can miss a friend. So, early in the morning, I’d take my fly rod and make my way to Yosemite Creek. The water was as clear as glass and I’d look for just the right spot to cast my fly. Most of the time, the fly would float by unmolested, but when a trout took the fly, I was totally alive. Even if I lost the fish, my day was a success. I came away listening to the chattering of blue jays and smelling the aroma of pine needles underfoot. It was a good day.
Today, my fly rod is hanging in the garage and I look for a “good day morning” on my patio. Coffee never tasted better, birds never flew straighter, and I’m as content as I deserve to be. Life doesn’t have to be as serious as we make it. Challenges test us, but they happen for a reason, and nature is waiting to give us answers, even if they aren’t from the question we asked. Take a trip, even if it’s only to your backyard, and see if I’m not right.
Well, time to get crackin’.
Ron Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org