A quiet sunrise

Ever since instituting my new schedule, I have been getting up at 6:00, at latest 6:30, to have a shower, light a candle and a stick of incense, take vitamins, eat a light breakfast and brush my hair before the children descend upon me. I have always wanted to be clear-headed enough to light a candle and incense once a day but even without children I rarely got around to it. Then, with children it seemed impossible.

But I am managing it, so far for the third week in a row. I haven’t done the schedule perfectly. There have been days when I couldn’t even begin to follow it and generally things went from bad to worse as my organization dissolved into bare survival and lots of yelling by both children and Mama (yours truly). But I have noticed that on the days when I can manage to get up early and do my routine – avoiding the seductive call of my laptop which whispers, “Psssst! I have interesting emails here for you from friends, offering much needed moral support. Come on, just look for a moment.” – when I can do it, the day goes significantly better.

At this time of year, this means that I get up in the gray light just before dawn, stumble downstairs and into the shower before my eyes are even half open. The warm water wakes me up. I could do without many of the comforts of modern life but hot showers are in a class of their own. By the time, I’m clean and dressed, my brain has started to kick in. I spend a quiet moment lighting my candle and incense on the eastern window sill just as the sun is rising through pink and orange mist from the forested hills where the Czech author Josef Lada wrote his pastoral poetry for children.

I carry the candle back to the darker part of the living room and set it on top of our woodstove, which I have always envisioned as the center of the family space. In fact, I planned the construction of the house around that idea. So, it is fitting that the candle burns there. I recite a little poem to focus my mind for the day and I feel somehow that I have accomplished something already in the day.

Then, I go to the herb cupboard for iron tablets to combat my anemia, St. John’s Wart to fight off depressive tendencies and any remedies necessary for the moment. I run nearly boiling water out of our specialized water heater under the kitchen sink into the large bowl full of carefully washed baby bottles (hopefully if the evening went well the night before). This is an imperfect method of sterilizing bottles but the best I can manage with a recalcitrant husband, who loudly proclaims that he does not believe that infant formula is really so prone to bad bacteria.

I turn on the pot to heat water for tea, put herbs into a strainer, cut crusty Czech bread and spread it with the jam we made last summer just before Marik “came home.” On most mornings, my quiet is cut short at about this point, at around 6:45, by Shaye stirring in her crib, vaulting over the side – she still refuses to sleep in a “big kid bed” – and clomping noisily past where Marik is sleeping in an apparent attempt to wake him up as well. But if I am lucky, she may sleep a few more minutes and I might get to drink my tea and pick out the tangles in my hair while listening to an audio book from the Library of Congress’s service for blind US citizens overseas for five or ten minutes.

It is not much and not everyone will find the same value in such a thing, but I think that my personal rhythm is helped a great deal by this one small change in my daily routine.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trina
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 22:37:40

    Arie, I am so glad you are able to make some restorative time for yourself. I find the busier I am, the bigger the difference of a few minutes feels.


  2. Nathaniel Farnam
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 08:03:05

    Just a couple of moments for a “sanity break” can make all the difference! Holly sure does appreciate hers, when she can get ’em!


  3. Julie Farnam
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 19:52:18

    I just read your blog to Pa as he is here with Fernie and JuneBug who he picked up earlier. Boy can I relate to the need to have the replenishment time. Pa said he thinks you get that from me. Also, that since he’s without internet now he has a lot more time. However, he’s getting it hooked up today so….:-).
    I am with you in the sunrise as you describe it perfectly from your litte house on the hill.


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