Teri Orr: It’s about mornings… all of them really
November 7, 2014
Between the time change and the full moon I have been disoriented and a bit sleepless this week. Friends who understand these things tell me the alignment of the planets is also to blame. I only know I have been suspended in time and tired and a wee-bit cranky. I have also seen more sunrises than I have in the combination of years. For a non-morning person, they are a thing of wonder.
The non-morning thing started in my youth and thoughts of those yesterday mornings echo in these todays. In her best Tennessee Williams voice, my mother would stand at the foot of my bed early, at, say, 6 a.m., because that was her hour, screeching "Rise and shine! Rise and shine!" No alarm created since has matched that tone of urgency… get up or get a piece of this.
These days, from my bed facing west with windows and a glass door to a tiny porch, my mornings have entered slowly… the windows in the office across the hall facing east (formerly my son’s room when he lived here) catch the early morning light and slowly that light falls into my open door but darkened room and the rosy color creeps across the white carpet and catches the full-glass door. Where, if I look up at just the right time, the early light is already being reflected and creeping up the mountains to the west. Then somehow, sometimes, there is a circle of warm light filling the room.
It is a gentle way to wake. And, I confess, I have liked it.
In my long life there have been a handful of nights when I deliberately stayed up to greet the dawn. In my wild child days in the ’70s in San Francisco there were a few. But that same decade was filled with long nights of young children needing comfort and cold cloths and steam showers. Seeing the dawn just added to the exhaustion of parenting.
Later in life, an all-night-to-morning event would be talking in front of a fire with a friend who needed me or I needed, to talk through life’s mysteries or at very least, the mysteries of men. And later still, the words of comfort and cold cloths became the time before dawn and before death.
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Sometimes unbidden, the Dan Fogelberg lyrics from the past would whisper to my sadness, "Because it’s going to be a day, and there is really no way, you can say no, to the morning."
Which is a truth.
So most days, I head downstairs, put the kettle on for tea and the light in the living room is doing a more full-bodied dance around the house than it was upstairs. The clouds have become palettes, where on the most vibrant of mornings they are brushed with hues from red to pale pink. It can catch me unaware, I have whispered a prayer to the morning.
But this week with the harmonic convergence or disturbance of the full, bright, giant moon and the time change, sleeping has been fitful. My body clock has no idea what time it is. So I put on the sleep CD and stay awake the whole hour it plays. I try to read. Write a bit. Turn off all the lights and think sweet thoughts. The moon moves from window to window to glass door mocking me.
So when I caught up with an old friend this week he said, "Did you really send me that email at 4 this morning?" And I tried to explain a suitcase full of reasons why I wasn’t sleeping and he did that thing only a friend of my heart would know to do…
"What books are you reading right now?" And then he rattled off a long list of reads he had recently completed. And I struggled to remember what, if anything, I was reading, but then I offered up a list of recently completed and half-started books. And we talked about authors and that became about music and that became the harder stuff of his illness and my sadness. And when he left to head back to the valley the long, tight hugs included those surprising tears of friendship and gratitude.
And sleepless deprivation.
With the coming weekend the Commodores… Easy like Sunday Morning refrain is a wish but this week I hear more the gravel voice of Johnny Cash, warning Sunday Morning Coming Down… The moon will cycle out, the time change will become the norm and by next week, it should be just be another Sunday in the Park…
Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the organization that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.