Every journey must start somewhere. I found myself wide awake at 6 a.m. on a Saturday with a million ideas racing through my head. I tried to force myself back to sleep by beating my brain with the paddle “you NEED sleep,” “you NEED more sleep!” But it was useless. My brain was already on the playground with a kickball in hand on the spot reserved for third baseman. I reluctantly got up and grabbed a big, soft blanket and my computer charger. “You can watch the sun come up. That’s what good writers do. They get up before the sun and they write, dammit!” And much like when I finally pulled that wad of tangled costume jewelry out of a cosmetics bag in the back of my closet, this morning I have opened the door on my brain and have made the commitment to slowly, carefully pull apart these tangled thoughts of mine, no matter how long it takes. Last night I got drunk with work colleagues. I think it was that hollow nerdy group awkwardness that prompted me to drink so quickly. When I first arrived, everyone was crowded around the table with drinks and was engaged in forced one-on-one pseudo-conversations with the person adjacent like the ones you have when you desperately need to make it look like you are socializing like you’re supposed to. I first bought a pint of Stone and Wood and then headed to one edge of the group to try to maneuver my way in. Some people must really grow up in a cave, because when they see someone they know standing right behind them, they don’t think to pull out their chair a little to let that person into the circle. Having attempted to enter the circle at three different points with no success, my face started to tighten at the thought that I might never be let into this circle. It’s like when I was in grade school and a few friends would be walking somewhere using the sidewalk. As they walked and talked, they would stand shoulder to shoulder in a line formation taking up the entire path. I could never fit next to them on the sidewalk and I felt pathetic walking in the dirt, so I would hang back a couple of steps still trying to be part of the conversation. At that age I often wondered why I was always the one behind the battalion. How does that happen? It wasn’t until years later that I realized that I have a level of perception in situations that most other people simply don’t have. No one else saw the person walking behind the group or sitting outside the circle as a problem. For me it’s still impossible not to notice that person.
The sun has come up a little more, and everything is starting to turn a luscious golden. I can see the light reflecting off the water in my mind and geese flying away like in the Notebook. I love the mornings more than life itself. I resent the rest of the day for not being more like the morning. I know that if I stepped out of my house right now, the whole neighborhood would be mine. The air would be bursting at the seams with humidity and crisp smells and potential. Time does not run away on me in the morning; it sits and chats for a while. The sun flooded my bedroom every morning when I was growing up. It was so bright that it hurt. I would look out on the stillness across the dewy pasture and see the sunlight shoving impatiently through the tree branches. On those honeysuckle bushes that mark a clearing in the dense woods, I can picture in the spider’s web a string of perfect little pearls of morning dew, each drop a self-contained universe. Rocío (roh-SEEEEE-oh) is the term for dewdrops in Spanish. The crispness and resonance of it are so satisfying.
My brain has come in from the playground. Scraped knees, cold sweat, nose like a faucet as it warms up. But calm. I don’t think you can ask nature for happiness or success. I think you can only ask nature for what is natural. The serenity of a bead of dew on a spider’s web. On its surface you can see a curved shimmer of intense morning light. And that is joy. You need the one to see the other.