I leave the windows open

During the summer I leave the windows open in my upstairs apartment. Instead of the forced air and low hum of air conditioning, I listen to my neighbors’ voices float in with the evening breezes – sometimes late into the night. But in the early mornings, an hour or so before sunrise, it is quiet. This is my favorite time of day, presenting as it does so much silent space for thinking and for waiting. A kind of hushed and almost, tinged with creative expectancy. And almost every morning at this time I open a book of poetry and read from wherever I last left off until I find a line that moves me, something to hold on to and repeat, especially in the stressful moments that always come just before lunch or late in the afternoon when I’m tired and hungry.

This morning I started in a second time on Nancy Thomas’s new collection, Close to the Ground. And I stopped at the end of the first page – just like I did my last time through – in order to read it again. And then once more. Because that first poem describes so perfectly what mornings have always been for me. Because that first poem describes so perfectly what it is to live sacramentally. Because that first poem describes so perfectly – for me – what it is to hope.

Morning Watch

William Stafford, that kind poet,
once told me how he got up
at 4:00 every morning
to sit in the quiet and wait for a poem.
It always came. Stafford filled notebooks
with the fruit of his attention and freely
shared it with the world. I’m grateful
to have been included in that world.
So here am I, sitting in my own
quiet spot by a window. The morning
grows light before me. Trees emerge
and the far hills. Like Stafford,
I’m waiting. Waiting.

What are you waiting for?

Eric Muhr