The shades at my windows are down right now before the dawn,
all except those over my air conditioning unit where I can see
the trees outside, with glimpses of sky.
I have three schoolroom windows starting at three and a half feet
off the floor all the way to the high ceiling, wonderful, clear space
each day to welcome the sun and the rain, sometimes fog, ice,
snow, all the ways the world greets us when we pull up the shades.
I love the dawn, have loved it for so many years, years in which, at
the first show of light, I would throw on some clothes, step outside
in the coolness and walk lightly for miles. MIne is a safe, residential
neighborhood. However, I have this old, old superstition that will
not permit me to allow leg or arm to hang over my bedside. I do know
that what’s under my bed is whatever I’ve put there, no room for
monsters of dark imagination. Nontheless, this atavistic fear is a real
In like vein, I pull down the shades of these magnificent windows the
minute it gets dark. My apartment is at ground floor. I can stand and
look outside, a comfortable view as I stand head and shoulders above
the sill. That also means that often my family can show up to see me
and all they have to do is stand on tiptoe to knock on my window to
let me know they’re here. At least, that’s the way it’s been for sixteen
years until last week when safety railings were added along the side-
walk just beyond the low bush planting.
My fear has been that anyone can walk right up to my window and
almost look in. If that were to happen, and I suddenly saw ‘them’,
I would be scared out of my wits, to tell the truth, and run to pull down
the shades. If you recall, I began this story with the intention of
pulling up the shades to greet the dawn, that soft, gradual return to
our everyday reality, that has such a timeless beauty of its own.
Thank you, fear, for showing up. Once I see you, the jig is up.
I walked over to the windows just now, and pulled up the shades.
There, right there at 6:36 a.m., is the dawn, it’s real, it’s there, it’s
soft and changing as I stand and take it in. The night is over, and
a new day is here, a pause at the threshold.
As I sat down here at the computer, I heard a noise outside, and
lo and behold, the garbage truck has arrived, it’s lights matching
the glow in the sky, and the day has begun. Such an everyday,
ungainly way to look at the dawn, isn’t it? I promise you another
day to answer your question about dawn, beautiful in all its promise
and assurance of eternal newness.
You asked such a lovely question, and where have I taken us?
I have diverged to that place where the poets say, “It’s the darkest
before the dawn.” Let’s let that contrast speak for itself, and just
enjoy the fact that, yes, it’s dawn, and the day is ours.
POST SCRIPT TO DAWN
On this beautiful beginning of day, here’s a thought:
“Take earth for your large room
and the floor of earth
carpeted with sunlight
and hung round with silver wind
for your dancing place.”
…….MAY SWENSON, courtesy of Panhala this morning.
with love …