MORNING LIGHT by Jane Smiley
"The sunrise wakes me, but not completely. My bedroom, on the southeast corner of the house, is in a draw, protected by the twisted branches of California live oaks. The new light of the day is filtered by leaves and motes of dust, and is not a glare, but rather a diffused shine in the room that brightens the face and silver hair of my lover, who is a sounder sleeper than I am. I slip out of bed, still half snoozing. When I come back from the bathroom, I slide into the space on the other side of him, the side he is turned towards, and he embraces me and tucks me under his shoulder. My face finds his neck. We are entirely together now, entwined from head to toe. The room, which has seven windows, is ablaze behind my eyelids, but we go back to sleep anyway, a delicious soft and utterly comfortable sleep that is compounded equally of perfect relaxation and repose and perfect awareness, each of the other, skin to skin, face to face, breath by breath for a space of time that seems sweetly endless until one or the other rises just a little into consciousness, and says, 'I love you.'”
Last night I studied a bit, watched Bush’s interpretation on the State of the Union, spent some quality time with my father and my cats, and had difficulty falling asleep. I don’t remember being tired enough to drift off, but I must have, because I woke up with a start from a nightmare. Whatever it was, it was so frightening and disturbing, I buried my head under the blanket and fought back tears, telling myself it was crazy and babyish to cry myself back to sleep over such a simple thing as a bad dream.
This morning, I was wide awake when I opened my eyes. Caffeine pales in comparison to stress. My jaw tight, but my cats lounging on my bed, the slivers of gray peaking through my blinds, proof of a cool and misty morning, caused me to smile despite the stiffness in my jaw and hop into the day. On my walk to work (there’s increasingly LESS parking around my office), I noticed a roley-poley (potato-bug) on the sidewalk in front of me. It reminded me of my childhood, how I used to collect them and put them together in a box with snails and iceplant, create my own little ecosystem... hold them in my hand and coax them softly to trust me enough to open from that little ball and walk around my fingers with all those little feet.
My gums hurt a bit from all this flossing. A good habit to get into, you know. My lungs fill with more air from no smoking, yet another good habit. I start school tonight after work, sweet stimulation of the brain, more good habits. I remembered that quote, “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better,” and I identified with it. Now, half-an-hour later from walking into my office, after applying make-up and chatting with co-workers, as I finish my ten to fifteen minute typing ritual, my jaw is relaxed. I am smiling. And this, this is good.