This morning wisps of mist stretch up out of the valley, blue sky shines bright through layers of clouds–cirrocumulus, altocumulus, altostratus, and low stratus clouds hang here and there–and the sun lights on the patterns of white. The air is cool and crickets chirp, an orchestra in the field. Inside, Edge plays the ukelele while Waylon bounces and plays a toy drum to no particular beat.
It’s been a week of groggy wakings, hoping Waylon will sleep longer to make up for a bedtime that he fought against and turned from 7 to 8 to 9:00 pm. He’s been teething. Teething weeks are tired weeks. But last night we all slept soundly, and at 6:00 am I wake refreshed, ready to keep my eyes open.
Now Waylon and Edge are on a walk in the woods, the chores are done, and I am here with my chai and blueberry french toast. It’s so luxurious. These small moments–a welcome and restful morning, a perfect breakfast, birdsong and crickets–they bring the kind of beauty I feel rather than see. My body is lighter, the space around me is clear, and there is a feeling that everything is inviting me to expand. “Beauty is real. I would never deny it; the appalling thing is that I forget it,” writes Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. These moments of beauty, beauty felt and seen, do happen, though in opposite ones–the exhausted, hemmed in moments–I forget it, too.
I have not yet learned how to keep myself here, in these open and beautiful moments. Is it inevitable to slip back into the blind ones? Those times when my words are sharp and my chest is tied shut? Is it inevitable only to make the beauty more vibrant, the open heart more free? What I have learned is this: how to sink into the beauty, how to breathe deeply, how to open my eyes and remember what is real.