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Exaltation of the Dawn


My husband, Gordon, is working on attitude.. Not easy. A lot is influenced by how he wakes up in the morning, or doesn’t quite wake up in the morning, you might say. It seems that too often a grey filter lies over the stack of needs looming for the coming day and looms so large it all seems ominous, and nearly impossible to navigate. The gloomy outlook, the negative turn of mind can grind into a bad habit, like continually falling in a rut on a rough road. But he is working to start the day in a better frame of mind.


Thank goodness, there is the daily rescuing hope of coffee. What a splendid drug! What is not to like about coffee? The aroma, the jolt awake. So that ‘relationship preserving’ liquid has saved plenty of mornings in this household, a fact, I imagine, that is multiplied by the millions in other households! Actually probably billions!


Truth is the world is made up of chickens and owls and how can the twain meet? There are those chickens that bounce out of bed at daylight disgustingly cheerful, a sheer offense to a slow waking owl. I fall somewhere in between but Gordon and some of our children are owls for sure and get everything going about 9 o’clock at night. Unfortunately, our society insists on transacting most business during the day, so it is owls that have to adapt and get up early, like it or not.


During our difficult months of 2013, we were often both up at dawn and watch the sun come up. In those moments at the break of day, Gordon worked persistently to try to memorize the words of a poem to greet the new day aright. It is one that I know by heart because it was close to my mother’s and she often greeted the day with it. It is one of the oldest poems in the world, from the ancient Sanskrit.


Gordon would recite, then hesitate over a line. We volleyed the phrases back and forth as we watched to light and life giving rays of the rising sun turn the landscape golden.


Listen to the exaltation of the Dawn;

Look to this Day!


It is Life, the very Life of Life.

For in its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence

The splendor of beauty, the glory of action, the bliss of growth

For every yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow but a vision;

But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness

and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well therefore unto this day;

Such is the salutation of the dawn.


Such wisdom lies in these words, gifted from a inspired sage thousands of years ago to all the ages to follow. I have struggled with the ‘bliss’ of growth part, for growth always seemed to be wrought through pain. Perhaps the truly wise one may name that bliss too.


When well ‘coffee-ed’ Gordon is on to his day and he engages in some really good habits that keep us going.. He makes the bed, does dishes, helps with laundry, keeps the cars running, splits wood for our fireplace that warms body and soul through the winter. He also feeds any creature on the ranch that needs it, from wild birds to cat to horses and cattle. Anytime one of the family or friends expresses a need he is always ready to lay aside his needs to do everything he can to meet theirs. It is life, the very Life of Life.


PS. Here’s food for thought. America was spurred to our revolution when a hostile opportunist corporation (The East India Tea Company) tried to limit the tea available to the tea loving colonists. They rose up in mighty protest and declared their freedom.


As Jefferson reminds us, we need frequent revolutions, lest wealth and a corrupt government destroy democracy. I can’t think of a better way to get from a passive to the aroused citizenry that we need to stand up now, than to make the splendid drug of coffee hard to obtain!

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