Early Morning

13 Aug


The black metal chair on the patio, the one with the tan cushion, is still cool from the fresh night air.  Feels like hints of cooling weather are appearing cautiously.  It’s quiet as I set the keyboard on my lap, adjust the iPad on a small table, the home of small cactus plants and a ceramic rabbit who is smiling at me.

On the iPad screen a news headline pops up announcing another political conflict.  Ignore it, at least for the moment.  It will be there an hour from now.  Dove songs pull me away from news bulletins and escort me back to red crepe myrtle blossoms and lush greenish-gray succulents in a bright blue pot.  It is a very pleasant moment.  As I begin to think about what to write this morning, a large gray dove makes a two-point landing to my left onto the concrete patio.  She slides to a stop about ten feet from her destination — a plastic dish filled with cool water.  Then she sees me.  Even though I am perfectly still, she knows a foreigner when she sees one.  Her eyes, dark black spots in that lovely soft gray body, watch me intently.  She wants the water, not a moment with me.  After almost of minute of the staring contest, she turns and walks away, as if to prepare for takeoff.  But, thirst wins.  Back she comes, very slowly, watching me as she walks.  Another pause, then up she jumps onto the edge of the plastic bowl.  I’m frozen in place, hardly breathing.  She is scared, but thirsty.  We are both staring at each other.  And then in an act of courage and desperation, she dips her beak into the water and drinks.  Then again.  And again.  Between the drinks, she looks at me, but convinced that I’m not charging after her, she seems to be willing to give up the eye contact in favor of the good water.

Thirst satisfied, she hops down onto the patio runway and flaps into the sky.  Maybe she will come back for another drink later.  But I do hope she will mention to her friends that in a remarkable moment this morning, she encountered a human who did not attempt to scare her away or harm her.  I choose to think she will do that, and that makes me happy.

The morning light is brighter now as the sun’s brilliance continues to light the sky.  Sounds have changed from an hour ago.  Now the quiet has given way to traffic noises.  Tires hum on warming asphalt, an occasional honk, even a distant train whistle all mean that we are on the way to another day.  Soon the cool air of morning will surrender to the hot sun and the black metal chair will be uncomfortably hot.  Birds will have finished their morning conversations.  Traffic noises will diminish as people sit down behind desks or do whatever they do until the bell rings and the traffic song begins again.

I’ll come out again tomorrow morning, early, and watch the humming birds chase each other, listen to the cooing doves, watch the little St. Francis statue in the garden move from shadow to full light as the earth spins and all her inhabitants come along for the ride.  I hope we are all bathed in light, illuminated, like the Little Friar.  And I hope tomorrow in the very early morning, more creatures will stop by.  We will have a nice conversation.

3 Responses to “Early Morning”

  1. Bobbie August 13, 2018 at 9:09 am #

    I felt the heart beat beneath the stillness during the staring contest and my blood pressure dropped as I rested in your story. So nicely written! Thank you for sharing.

    • rpiercetuc August 13, 2018 at 9:14 am #

      You’re welcome. It was a very good morning.

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