Posted in Air, Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Home, Lagoon, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter

Wake up

This morning
This morning

We begin so aware and grateful.  The sun somehow hangs there in the sky.  The little bird sings.  The miracle of life just happens.  Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe.  Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk.  With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.

Our vigilance becomes:  Which defines our day — the pinch we feel in walking on a buised toe, or the miracle still happening?

It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery.  In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat.  But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.

When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything.  We forget when we were lonely dreaming of a partner.  We forget first beholding the beauty of another.  We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard.  When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.

In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything.  So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts.  When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.

~ Mark Nepo

Racers in the sky
Racers in the sky

The wind howled and roared all night.  The cold, crisp, dry air of the north bullied its way in, clashing with the soft, humid, warm air of the south that had been hanging out here for the past few days.  It was difficult to sleep with all that racket going on outside, and I thought I’d feel terribly tired today, but the wind has an energy to it that invigorates better than the caffeine in my morning tea.

Clouds funneling in
Clouds dancing over the lagoon

Clouds have been racing by, cruising out to the sea east of us.  Dry leaves and sand along the driveway twirl like dervishes in a mad dance of joy and ecstasy.  I twirled with the leaves for a moment, enjoying the push and pull of the wind, the dance with nature.

Back Creek in the morning.
Back Creek in the morning.

Today’s quote at the beginning is rather long, isn’t it?  I read it a few times before deciding to start this post with it.  It made me think about how, when I wash my face first thing in the morning with ice-cold water, six splashes to cleanse away the night and to say thank you, thank you, thank you for the gift of this day, I do begin “aware and grateful.”  I walk quietly, almost on tip-toe, to the kitchen to look out the window, to see what the day will bring.

Back Creek in my dreams.
Back Creek in my dreams.   (Enhanced in PicMonkey.)

My mind registers the mess in the kitchen if we failed to clean up the night before, the pile of boxes still sitting in the dining room waiting for the new addition to have the finishing touches completed so we can move, sort, and shift and begin to settle in.  I notice the pain in my right hip that works itself out after I walk for a little while, and the water spilled on the floor by one of the cats batting at the water bowl in an attempt to make it bubble, gurgle, and bring her fresh water.  I don’t dwell on any of those things at first.  They are part of the whole of the morning, and I’m still fresh enough to be grateful for the whole of the morning, the whole of life.

The wind in the water.
The wind in the water.

Ah, but then the teapot overflows because the basket is jammed and the cats insist on breakfast and the mess on the kitchen counter from the night before is no longer a thank you for the meal or snack we had but a mess on the kitchen counter, and if we would just clean up after ourselves as we go along, life would be so much easier, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to walk into a clean and tidy kitchen first thing in the morning?

Zoom in
Zoom in

Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before because the wind was howling and roaring, so those things that are small become big in my state of exhaustion.  After a moment of grrrrr, I glance up at the gradually lightening sky or M walks in all bright and cheerful (because he’s so disgustingly bright and cheerful in the morning), and it’s hard to maintain that feeling of grrrrr in the light of his smile or the colors of the awakening day.

The big picture.
Zoom out.  The whole of it.

If I listen carefully, I notice there is music in what I thought was the roaring of the wind.  There is a message to wake up, to pay attention, to be grateful for and to honor the wonder of this day.

A different wind, a different song.
A change in wind, a change in song.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

~ G. K. Chesterton

Looking beyond
Looking beyond

It helps, too, to follow the wind.  To step out the door and dance and play and walk and sing with the wind as it roars through the trees and the meadows.  This morning the wind that some would call brutal and cold, lifted seeds from the marshes and meadows and filled the air with them.  The sunlight joined in, and magic happened.

Magic happens.
Magic happens.  (Enhanced in PicMonkey because this is what I saw, not what the camera captured.)

Did I ever tell you that I write most of my posts in the morning?  I do. That’s why they often make it seem like it’s still morning here.  I write them, let them sit, and come back in the afternoon to edit, to change, to start over, or to leave it as it is.  This one has had 13 revisions according to the little box that informs me of these things.  I had to pare it down, and pare it down, and still it’s wordy.  But 13 revisions is enough.

Thank you for stopping by today, and joining me in a bit of a ramble through the morning.   Now that it’s nearly evening here, let’s go out to the platform to watch the sunset.  Dress in layers, and be sure to wear a hat and gloves.  The north wind is a blustery and cold wind, and it is always trying to find a way in.

The lagoon in my dreams.  (Enhanced in PicMonkey.)
The lagoon in my dreams. (Enhanced in PicMonkey.)

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂



Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

22 thoughts on “Wake up

  1. A wordy quote, but an important one. Thank you for more lovely photos of the Creek. Amazing how much your Creek and mine look like twins 😉 Our wind finally calmed in late afternoon. We had to make Grrrr noises every time we opened the door and stepped out today. Too cold! Hope you get to make up the rest tonight, WG


    1. You’re welcome, WG. And thank you. 🙂 The wind finally calmed down this morning, and it looks like it will be a lovely day. Snow coming again on Monday. Winter doesn’t want to go out easy.


  2. Just beautiful.
    Many times as you said, if I listen there is a melody- music within the sounds around me as the vividly thrashing wind last night; the whistling of old windows now succumbing to drafts. My thoughts seem to have a lot to do with how I will paint the rest of my day.
    Yes, such a beautiful passage; thank you…


  3. Love the seasonal-like images, almost a progression of sorts. Found me thinking about transitions – in myriad ways. The opening shot is beautifully tranquil. And of course, the accompanying words, reflective. 🙂


  4. Robin what a timely post for me. I have begun waking up in the middle of the night and to go back to sleep I start to say my thanks…and they always include people. Not the clean house or the easy drive to work…. Thank you.


    1. You’re welcome, CM. And thank you. That is a lovely way to put yourself back to sleep. I’m going to give that a try. I wake in the middle of the night, too, and was told to try counting backwards by three’s, but I like the idea of saying thank you much better. 🙂


  5. It’s so easy Robin, to fall into that grouchy mood, and sometimes so difficult to cast it off, luckily you have your surroundings, and M of cours, to help you readjust, … I suppose we all feel the same way, Why? why not clean up after ourselves as we go, why leave things ’til later and make them twice as hard, … but sometimes it just works that way,… there’re more important things on our minds, we strive for perfection when really none is needed. Niggles of the day, as you point out, work themselves away. 🙂 Love the opening words, in fact so much truth in them that I stopped and read again. We do tend to forget, what life was like when we dreamt of what we actually have now, held so carefully in our hands. Your photo’s are a fantastic tribute to nature and morning,, and I zoomed out, and saw the sunlight, through the feathering … being Awake, opens our eyes to so much … Happy New Trails xPenx


    1. Thank you, Pen. 🙂 You’re right about striving for perfection and how unnecessary it is. It’s like cleaning up the kitchen. Sometimes there are more important things to do, such as spending quality time with someone or walking out to watch a beautiful sunset that will never happen again because this day will never happen again. The clean-up will get done eventually. Instead of looking at it as a mess, I should be grateful to have had something More Important to do. 😀


  6. So much to comment on here. First off the quote…I read it and thought how right it was to remind us that the small pains are not the whole of our lives. Then the wind…we had the howling wind yesterday afternoon and last night. Made going out with the dog kind of scary. She thought so too. But it sculpted the snow into what I call dimples…photos to arrive soon, very cool. And then the waking up to kitchen. HA. My husband has been out of town for 7 weeks now…and I have learned to pick up after myself…it IS a wonderful thing to wake up and find the kitchen neat and clean with nothing in the sink. We’ll see if I can continue this trend when there are two of us here.

    Loved your rays of sun photo! Good Morning!


    1. Good Morning, Dawn! And thank you. 🙂 My home tends to be neater when my husband is out of town, too. It’s not a trend that continues for long when he returns home although we do give it a try. After all, spending time together doing the washing up after dinner is still quality time spent together. 😀


  7. I love the details you’ve detailed here! It was like stream-of-consciousness flowing through your morning. Your editing in PicMonkey is wonderful – what a great way to add what you wish the camera had seen. I often wish the camera was as easily able to see what I see, but then again, I guess that’s just one more thing that’s so great about being human and being alive. 🙂


  8. I imagine you stepping out, and feeling the wind upon your face, cleansing. I too step out frequently during the day, desert breezes, the warmth of the sun on my arms, just to cleanse the day, the feelings, the minor upsets.


Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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