“There is a rumor of total welcome among the frosts of the winter morning.”
So writes American poet Mary Oliver in her “Wordsworth’s Mountain” essay that appears in Upstream, Ms. Oliver’s 2016 collection of essays that reflect her willingness to lose herself in the beauties and mysteries of the natural world.
I chanced to read that line a few mornings past as Clarence and I prepared for our dawn walk, the first in a week with a temperature above 0o. I have always been an early riser – 5 am or sunrise, whichever occurs first – I think as a result of my military education and career, and I have come to cherish the early morning before the sun makes its first appearance on the eastern horizon.
Ms. Oliver observes,
“Much is revealed about a person by his or her passion, or indifference, to this opening of the door of the day.”
From 2010 until we moved east to River Falls, I greeted the day in my solitary way at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at the edge of the Sonoran Desert northwest of Tucson. During those years, every morning I read from Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours (2007) edited by Kathleen Deignan. The small volume was my first introduction to the poet-monk Thomas Merton.
I was particularly fond of the Wednesday dawn reading,
“Sunrise is an event that calls forth solemn music in the very depths of man’s nature, as if one’s whole being had to attune itself to the cosmos and praise God for the new day, praise Him in the name of all the creatures that ever were or ever will be.
“I look at the rising sun and feel that now upon me falls the responsibility of seeing what all my ancestors have seen in the Stone Age and even before it, praising God before me. Whether or not they praised Him then, for themselves, they must praise Him now in me. When the sun rises each one of us is summoned by the living and the dead to praise God.”
Dawn is that perfect time to greet the day with a grateful heart, thankful to the Great Mystery that created it all with a single big bang.