[Friday] Reflections from Tucson

By seven in the morning, the sun is heated the neighborhood with a vengeance. I was up with the dawn (as I was yesterday). Then the light was softer, not yet blistering. The greens were deeper. Now the leaves on the trees seem almost neon. The world is turning to shades of brown and grey.

When I woke yesterday – having finally passed out around the time I am writing this today) the sun had heated our busy city to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I had spent the blessed time as dawn set in walking around the neighborhood. The birds sang and chirped and crowed. My eyes ached when the sun illuminated them. The world felt so much slower.

This morning I went for my stroll later, having been occupied by some frustrating technology. The bunnies were well hidden in their bushes by then, and the birds taking flight from their nests. A woodpecker picked at a metal street post. The sun had a slight bite to it as it hit my back.

But before all that, my morning devotion begins. As the sun breaks the night, I light a candle and open the blinds to let in the natural light. The windows have already been opened, wide as they can get, since the evening when the temperature dropped. Once the light settles in further I return to my sewing-shrine room and kneel before my prayer books.

The simple brown Otherfaith prayer book sits under the smaller green Pagan Book of Prayer. I pick up the latter and read only one prayer from it before switching to the Otherfaith book.

I should be ringing a bell, but I don’t want to disturb my husband. Not to mention the bell sits in the other room, the hectic office I inhabit too many hours of the day.

I return to the green book and flick through the morning prayers. My eyes light on one I said during high school. The words flow from my lips, still familiar. Once, a long time ago, these prayers would fall from my lips as I woke. I intend to return to similar dedication.

Extinguishing the candle, I leave the house for my stroll. It’s intended to connect me with the natural landscape, to nature, to the world I walk upon. My mind is as hectic as one would expect. I’m re-learning how to be in the present moment.

I can’t spend too long on my walk, however. I consider my morning ritual a way of ‘opening the house’. With the summer heat in full swing I have to close it within the hour (perhaps more, if I were to rise early). The breeze fluttering the palm fronds and mesquites might be pleasant, but the sun is going to begin roasting our house. I return to the house – having made my way clockwise along the sidewalks – and squeak the windows shut after relighting the candle. I shutter the blinds.

I miss the natural light enough to keep one of the blinds open, but I’ll close it before the morning is properly done.

This is the morning ritual I’ve begun. I am unsure how long I can keep it. But going on the plodding walks, bowing my head as I light the candle, taking a moment to breathe as I make my coffee, all of this has caused a new bloom of religious ideas (perhaps even knowledge! perhaps even revelation!).

Unsurprising, nonetheless fulfilling.

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