Joy at first light

It’s summertime.  I don’t know what day it is, nor does it matter.  Summer days tended to flow from one to the next, and the memories stick together as if I lived a whole summer’s worth of adventures in one long day.  I wake up with a start, with the thrill of excitement at starting a new day.  The first lazy rays of sunlight seep into my room, bringing the silent air of mystery that I’m enamored with.  Nobody else is awake, nothing moves.  I’ve got this special time all to myself.

I slide out of bed, barefoot and already dressed in shorts and a t-shirt.  No need to change, I’m fine just as I am.  From the kitchen I grab a little plastic bowl,  then slip on my sandals and quietly sneak out the back door into the garden.

The sky is still an inviting shade of bluish-violet, which means today I’ll be able to see the watercolor sky redden until the first shock of sunlight spills over the horizon.  That special kind of sunlight that tints everything it touches and makes it glow, like I’m looking through rose-colored glasses. The birds are yawning out their first peeps and chirps of the day.  As the sky warms gradually, the birdsong swells and the air fills to saturation.  The smell of the dew on the grass is uplifting, and the unmoving air leaves a refreshing chill on my skin.

I like being here alone.  The presence of anyone else here in my special world would undo its perfection.

In this calm, still moment, I don’t even want to breathe too loudly, for fear of disrupting the sanctity of it all.  The whispers of last night’s dreams are still in my head, and reality feels abstract.  Time is immaterial, and it feels like anything and everything is possible.  I feel capable and independent, like I have no limitations and the world is mine to discover.

I walk slowly and deliberately toward the back of the garden, where the raspberry bushes sit.  The raspberries wink at me from their hiding spots, scattered among vibrant leaves.  The color combination is deeply attractive: variegated shades of green leaves and beautifully arched stems are punctuated with the luminous red berries.

I pick the first raspberry of the day and pop it straight into my mouth: the seeds crunch and the fragrant, sweet, slightly sour berry flavor overpowers my taste buds.  The flavor is so concentrated that I can both smell and taste it at the same time.  Glorious.  I continue to hunt through the thorny vines to fill my plastic bowl with more.  I love the satisfying feeling of a freshly-ripened raspberry slipping off the vine–to me, they look like little crocheted hats meant for garden gnomes.

As my bowl fills, I dream about the raspberry waffles that Mom will make in my favorite Bugs Bunny waffle iron.  Maybe she’ll let me pour the batter and make my own waffles today…

The flavor of that first berry fades, and I consecrate myself to my task.  The day has begun.

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