Waking Up on a Spring Morning

By Deb Fenwick

On spring mornings, after a long brittle winter, the truth is everywhere. It begins at dawn. Not that I wake up that early anymore. These days, I sleep until the sun is high in the warm sky.

But I remember thirty years of sunrise drives—drives where a glowing, golden-pink ribbon stretched languidly across Lake Michigan. Like it had all the time in the world. Unhurried. Unlike me.

The sky had no need to rush to work. To meet deadlines. To prove its worth. From the driver’s seat, I watched the morning clouds, dumbstruck some days, because they seemed to delight in their own essence. Those early morning skies seemed, somehow, to speak to something truer than the life I was living at the time.

In those days, I didn’t have time for walks where I watched the earth wake up to its magnificent self. The glory song of forsythia bursting into bloom was muted. Of course, there were hyacinths, tulips, and spring snowdrops emerging—calling my name, beckoning me to take pause. But I pretended not to hear them. Even though their joy was riotously loud, I played deaf. I was preoccupied with the slow-strangle-everyday crush of the mundane.

Learning about the nature of truth and living the dharma is the work of a lifetime. Some say many lifetimes. We can choose a religious faith, a spiritual tradition, a guru, or a master teacher. Take your pick. We can obsess over finding the perfect prayer or the most meaningful mantra. We’re taught that we have to search for truth. We’re taught that it’s elusive and that unless we’re willing to renounce our worldly goods, shave our heads and check into a one-star monastery, we probably haven’t earned it. But the irony is, it’s everywhere once we decide to wake up on a spring morning. There’s an all-access VIP pass. It’s in our pulse. It’s in that redbud branch that’s blasting its neon pink blossoms into the breeze.

The truth patiently whispered in my ear for many years. Then, it shouted. 

These days, I sometimes see truth so real that it burns my eyes. Right now, there’s a blaze of life outside my window. Right now, the fragile, translucent petals of lemon yellow daffodils are exploding into spring sunshine. There’s wisteria on the wooden gate. It creeps slowly—just waiting to share its wild purple life force. The dogwood’s unfolding leaves are ever-so-patient in saying yes to the warmth of spring.

Spring reminds meto say yes to this moment. This one. Right here, right now. Can you believe it? There’s a now. And it’s alive with possibility. What will you do with me? it asks, almost like a dare.

Look away from your screen for a moment. Poof! That now? Gone. It only lives in the past. A new now, blank-slate opportunity is always being born. What good fortune!

So for today, I promise to pay attention to my now—to listen to the truth of the sky. I say that in such a cavalier way, right? Like it’s easy. Like the grocery list and the laundry chores aren’t going to derail me. But when they inevitably do, I’ll remember to trust the now and the beauty of the sunrise. Even if I sleep right through it.

Deb Fenwick is a Chicago-born writer who currently lives in Oak Park, Illinois. After spending nearly thirty years working as an arts educator, school program specialist, youth advocate, and public school administrator, she now finds herself with ample time to read books by her heroes and write every story that was patiently waiting to be told. When she’s not traveling with her heartthrob of a husband or dreaming up wildly impractical adventures with her intrepid, college-age daughter, you’ll find her out in the garden getting muddy with two little pups.

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