Posted tagged ‘mornings’

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.”

March 18, 2014

The world looks different in the early part of the day. The cars are fewer and the lines shorter. People are purposeful with destinations in mind, and this morning Gracie and I were among them. I had an appointment, a destination, so we were out and about before nine, even before coffee and the papers. The appointment didn’t take long so when I was done and on my way home I rewarded myself for the early hour with a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and a butternut donut. Gracie got a munchkin. I don’t know which of us was happier. I got home, drank my coffee and read the papers. My day was back on schedule.

I don’t usually make breakfast for myself at home except for brewing coffee though sometimes I have toast if the bread is interesting enough. The other day I had a couple of biscotti. They were chocolate, and they were delicious.

My father never cared for breakfast in Europe except in England and Ireland where he got eggs, a broiled tomato and floppy bacon. In most of the other countries breakfast was cold cuts and rolls, lunches my dad called them. In a lovely hotel on a river in the Netherlands, an egg in an egg cup was sitting on a dish at his place at the table. He was delighted until he found out it was hard-boiled. 

My father would have liked the hotels in Ghana. Breakfast is part of the room rate, and they serve eggs and toast, sometimes fruit and always instant coffee which my father preferred. I never understand that. At my parents’ house, my mother had a coffee pot and real coffee for when I visited, but my dad always had his Maxwell House.

“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.”

October 1, 2013

My mornings are leisurely. I brew the coffee, get the papers from the driveway, grab a cup of coffee when it’s finished brewing then sit down and read the papers. I generally read everything from the headlines to the sports pages. I do two crossword puzzles and one cryptogram. I check the local weather. I seldom know anyone on the Names page in the Globe. Today I knew two, actors who are in town for filming. With each paper, I drink a cup of coffee. Every now and then I drink a third. This morning, though, was a bit different. I had a strange burst of energy caused, I think, by the broken planter and the dirt all over the floor of my dining room which I noticed right away when I came downstairs. It must have fallen during the night, and I never heard it. Obviously Gracie didn’t either as she didn’t bark at the noise. I cleaned up the mess and found a new pot for the plant then ended up watering the rest of the plants, all before I my usual morning ritual. While the coffee was brewing, I swept the kitchen floor and lemon oiled the small wooden whatever it’s called on my kitchen counter. It has two drawers. That’s my only hint as to what it might be. Then and only then did I get my coffee and sit down with the papers. I feel as if I have put in a whole day’s work. Not only that but I also finally dusted the shelves in this room. I did that last night. For some unknown reason, I have become Sally homemaker. I am hoping there is a cure.

According to the Cape Times, it will be in the 70’s every day this whole week while the nights will drop to the 50’s. That sounds ideal to me.

Already I can see the sun has begun its fall journey and has shifted to shine at a different angle than it had all summer. In my garden, the autumn flowers have bloomed, and they are lovely. Purple ones are the newest. The anemones I bought and planted seemed to have settled into the garden and a couple are blooming. Every time I looked at that front garden, I am tempted to buy more flowers, especially with the warm days still coming. Today I’m going to the farm stand for tomatoes and whatever else catches my eye. If, by chance, I happen upon some more flowers, I might just buy them. Let’s face it: I probably will buy them. I am a sucker for flowers.

“We are living in a ‘one morning’ world; we get up one morning and many things have changed! Tomorrow morning, there will be another ‘one morning!”

August 13, 2013

Mornings are my favorite part of the day. While the coffee is brewing, I go out on the deck just to look and listen, a sort of greet the day ritual. Mornings, I’ve decided, have their own smells. My favorite is when I can smell the ocean in the dampness of the air. On warm mornings the scents of flowers fills the air. I usually hear Gracie walking on the leaves in the backyard and the songs of a few birds. Most times I don’t ever hear people, only a car or two going up the street. Chickadees dine early and they are the only birds at the feeder. I’m seldom out there all that long, but it is a ritual I have come to love. When I get back inside, the house is filled with the aroma of coffee. I grab my papers and start the rest of my morning.

When I travel, I love to be up early to go out and see the mornings unfold. I think that gives me a greater sense of where I am. One early morning at Gettysburg, I was there when they opened the gates and was the only car on the road. The morning fog shrouded the battlefield. It wasn’t eerie but rather seemed solemn, quiet, as if even the fog recognized this was a holy place, a place where men died because they believed in something bigger than themselves. In the cities, I walk the streets and see stores opening and goods being delivered. I can smell bread and coffee and even exhaust all mixed together but not unpleasant. I see the delivery trucks and people on their way to work. In Santa Fe, I got a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun then sat on a bench and watched the Indians set up their goods in front of the Governor’s Palace. The rest of the plaza was just about empty. In Marrakech my mornings started just a bit later. I sat on the roof of my riad eating breakfast by myself. The Atlas Mountains were in front of me and I was surrounded by the roofs of other houses. Women were hanging laundry and a few were cooking using a tagine over charcoal. I watched them every morning. In Ghana the mornings bustle. People are up early. Roosters announce the day. I could always smell wood fires and hear voices from the compounds by my house. I loved those mornings.

This is a busy week for me. My dance card is filled every day but Friday.

“Once the rain starts falling it’s hard to tell it to stop…”

June 3, 2013

Last night it was a mighty storm. I saw the lightning then came the thunder, booming thunder getting closer and closer until it was over my house shaking the rafters. I fell asleep to that rain, but it was gone when I woke up. In its place was a dark, quiet day, the sort you sometimes get after a storm when all the sounds had been used up by the rain. Right now, though, the rain has started again, and I can hear the drops falling steadily on the trees and the deck. It will be around all day into tonight. The sun will be back tomorrow.

The rain makes me want to do little or nothing today, but my mood is neither lethargic nor somber. It is from the quiet and the darkness. Rain muffles all sounds except its own. My room is dark lit only by the computer screen. The window is wide open, and I have heard the progression of the rain. It started with a few small drops but is now the heaviest of rains. I have no gutters on my house so nearest the windows the rain falls in a sheet from the roof. No shopping for plants today, no planting flowers today.

Gracie is asleep in her crate. Fern is asleep on my bed and Maddie is in here with me sleeping on her chair. Animals know how to be cozy on a rainy day.

When I think of Ghana, I remember the smells and colors. My favorite of all is the aroma of wood charcoal burning. In my mind’s eye, I can still see smoke rising from the compounds behind my house when small charcoal burners were lit in the early mornings. My own burner was small and held only a single pan. First the charcoal was started. Thomas cooked for me and he’d squat in front of the burner fanning with a reed fan. When it was time for breakfast, he’d first boil the water for my coffee, my instant coffee, then the eggs and bread were cooked at the same time. The bread was leaned against the side to make toast. The eggs were cooked in groundnut oil, peanut oil, which gave them the best flavor of any eggs. I think breakfast was my favorite meal.

When I bought my first grill for this house, I never bought briquets; instead, I always bought wood charcoal. I used to sit outside on my little farmer’s deck not only to mind the grill but also to smell that charcoal burning and to remember and relive in a small way those mornings in Ghana.


“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

April 13, 2013

Spawns of Satan is already taken so I don’t know what to call the bird that pecks the side of my house and wakes me up. It has found the most inaccessible spot for me to get at it to shoo it away. I’m thinking a hose with the water at its strongest will reach the spot and scare away the bird. I wouldn’t dare try a stone because I’d probably break a window though it isn’t really all that close to the bird’s spot. It’s not a woodpecker, but I think it’s a nuthatch. Whatever it is doesn’t matter. That bird is going down!

It is still a damp day though the rain has stopped. The temperature is supposed to be in the 40’s and by mid-week close to 60˚. I think the sun would help if it would only come out of hiding.

I have to venture onto the deck later to fill the feeders. I watch the birds from the window while I wait for my coffee and have noticed how bright and beautiful the male gold finches are. Today I also had two house finches and a flicker. My stalwart chickadees have returned though they are fewer than usual.

The mornings are alive with the songs of birds. I woke up at one point and couldn’t see the clock but knew it must be close to dawn as I could hear birds welcoming the day. That is one of the best parts of spring: that the days are again filled with sound. Winter tends to blunt them. We all stay warm and secluded in our houses. The decks and yards are empty. We go from the house to the car to the store to the car and then home. Warm spring days, though, call to us to come outside. The sun is inviting. The world is alive again. It’s as if we’re shedding our winter coats and, like bears, leaving our caves. The long hibernation is finally over.

“An atheist is a man who watches a Notre Dame – Southern Methodist University game and doesn’t care who wins.”

February 3, 2013

I woke to a cold morning with a dusting of snow and a whitish grey sky. The breeze is ever so slight. Only the tips of the brown leaves sway. Snow sits on the oak and pine branches and covers all but the tall grass in the backyard. I think the day is pretty in its own way, even without the sun. Goldfinches and nuthatches are at the feeders. I don’t know where my chickadees have gone.

Gracie, Fern and Maddie are having their morning naps. Gracie went out for a short time and came running back inside as if she were being chased. She had spit on her forehead, always a sign she had run around the yard with her mouth open and her tongue hanging. Gracie does yard loops and runs around three or four times without stopping. My yard is big so she is always panting when the loops are done.

My big plans for today are to water the plants and go to the dump. Later I’ll watch the Puppy Bowl, one of my favorite Super Bowl Sunday events. Usually my friends and I get together for the game, but I’m still on the mend so I’ll stay home. I won’t even get dressed in outside clothes. The dump has no dress code.

My father spent every Sunday of football season watching a game, usually by himself. None of us were interested. He’d sit in the living room, eat snacks and yell and jump off the couch when something really good or really bad happened. We were usually in the kitchen. He’d come out to get something else to eat or drink and give us an update. We’d commiserate when his team was losing and give encouraging sounds, but we didn’t really care. Once in a while he’d yell to us about some play, and we’d go in the living for a minute or two and check out the TV. Most of the time I had no idea what he was talking about. Football, other than knowing a few basics, was a foreign language to me. I know a lot more now, even about some plays, the jobs of the different positions and special teams, but I still need my football to English dictionary.

“Outside the open window The morning air is all awash with angels.”

September 28, 2012

The rain stayed away yesterday, but today is already damp and dark so I figure we’ll get the promised rain later today. Gracie loves a cool morning, and she was out long enough to make me paranoid enough to check. I know she can’t jump the 6 foot fence anymore, but she still tries. Right now is her morning nap time.

The only light in this room is the laptop. Everything outside is still and quiet. I always like this kind of a morning. Actually, I love most sorts of mornings. I love the first gasp of breath when I go outside on a cold morning and the walk across the crisp, frosted grass to get my papers. Rainy mornings mean a run to get the papers and a day planned around a good book and an afghan across my legs. Snowy mornings have me checking how many inches have fallen. In the spring I love the smell of mornings. There is such a freshness to the start of the day when the the world is waking up from winter. Summer mornings are my favorite of all.

When I was really young, I never noticed the mornings. I was too grumpy being dragged out of bed, forced to put on my school uniform, eat breakfast and then walk to school. Every weekday was pretty much the same. The only sort of day which got my attention was when it rained. That meant wet shoes coming and going and staying inside at lunch instead of having recess.

I notice every morning now. I love the sounds of the birds and summers on the deck having coffee and reading the papers. I watch the birds flying in and out at the feeders. I curse the spawns of Satan. My deck will be closed down this weekend, and I’m sad. The furniture will be covered and the candles taken down from the trees. I’ll go out to check on the dog and to fill the feeders, and when I do, I’ll long for summer again.

“Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.”

August 17, 2012

Mornings this time of the summer are lovely. The air is still cool from the nighttime and the sun has a sharpness that highlights even the smallest leaf. My cats sleep sprawled in the sun shining through the front door while Gracie sleeps in her crate and snores loudly enough to be heard here, down the hall in the den.

When I woke up this morning, I rushed downstairs to open the front door expecting to see a planter of mums. I didn’t and was disappointed. My friend has never before failed to leave them on the steps. I stood there bemoaning the morning then I noticed the mums were by the gate. The festivities can begin.

When I was a little kid, I’d rush to the mailbox hoping for cards and hoping to find a dollar or two tucked into each card. It wasn’t being greedy. Back then a dollar meant I could buy two new books, and two dollars was almost wealth beyond comprehension. One grandmother always sent a dollar until I was a teen then she sent five dollars. Even when I was in the Peace Corps she’d slip a dollar or two in the aerogramme which warned about enclosing anything. I doubt she even noticed, but I was always appreciative of those dollars. They were hard to come by in Ghana.

My mother always made the cake. Chocolate was my favorite. We’d sit around the table after dinner with the cake in the middle and the right number of candles on the top. I’d endure the singing. It always embarrassed me a little, still does. After the singing ritual, I’d blow out the candles, my mother would cut the cake, and finally I’d get to open the family presents.

This afternoon my friends are taking me on the lobster cruise out of Sesuit Harbor. It is the perfect day for a cruise with still air and all that sun. My camera battery is charged and ready. Come to think of it, so am I.

Today, in the normal course of events, I would be eligible for medicare!

“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.”

July 2, 2012

Monday still carries a bit of gloom about it even though I’ve been retired for so long. The Monday horror of the alarm abruptly pulling me from dreamland after two glorious days of sleeping in, the tiny Monday papers and the start of yet another work week dissipates slowly. It took 35 years for the weekday resentment to build, and the older I got, the more difficult  it was to drag myself out of bed. I loved my job but, on Mondays, I loved it the least.

I am not a morning person. I love the late nights when I am the only one awake, and everything is quiet. When all the houses around me are dark, I feel as if the night is mine. I’d probably be a great vampire if they really existed. I’d have no problem sleeping all day; however, the biting and the blood would be drawbacks. In Ghana, I actually liked the mornings and didn’t need an alarm clock. The roosters worked just as well, maybe even better as they didn’t need electricity or batteries. It was in the mornings when my school compound came most alive. I could hear the swishing sounds of brooms as students cleaned and swept the grounds then I’d hear the water from the taps splashing into their buckets and the clangs as the students hauled their buckets to the stalls where they’d take their bucket baths. Little kids walked by on their to the primary school and greeted me as I sat outside to drink my coffee. The morning air was always the sweetest and the coolest.

I love mornings in other places, wherever I travel.  I remember Santa Fe and getting to the square early in the morning where I sat and drank my coffee and  watched the Indians set up their wares in front of the Governor’s Palace. I watched store owners sweep the walks in front of their establishments and realized sweeping is a universal. In Portugal I watched trucks unloading fish and produce in front of shops and stores. I ate fresh rolls and drank strong coffee as I walked. Most places are best seen in the early morning when people are going about their business and the day is unfolding.


“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”

June 28, 2012

There is something wonderful about summer mornings. The house still has a nighttime cool, the birds are singing to welcome the new day and the lawn’s grass blades glint in the sunlight their tips still dewy damp. I love to walk across that cool, wet grass with bare feet when I go to collect the papers. I leave footprints on the driveway.

This room is in the back of the house and is always cooler and darker in the mornings. The sun rises at the front of my house, stays on the backdoor side all afternoon then wends its way to shine on the deck before setting. My yard is natural with plenty of trees and weeds which get their comeuppance a couple of times a summer. I planted a dogwood over where Shauna is buried and two fir trees over my Siamese kitties. Poor Maggie still needs a tree which I’ll plant this fall. Those animals lives enriched mine so much that I want them commemorated and something growing seems perfect.

Gracie woke me up early this morning and I was not happy. She jumped from the bed to the floor, started scratching at the mattress and whining in my face so I’d wake up. I did and came downstairs and opened the backdoor so Gracie could go out her dog door. She didn’t. She followed me back upstairs, jumped on the bed and fell asleep after a giant sigh of comfort. I wanted to break at least one paw. She fell back to sleep. I didn’t. Right now she’s out napping on the lounge on the deck. Life is tough if you’re Gracie.

I went to my first Wednesday play last night, and it was wonderful. 1776 was the play, and I think the men’s voices were the best they’ve had in a long while. The crowd gave them a standing oration, something I don’t remember seeing at that playhouse before this. Tomorrow night is my second Friday play; it’s As Bees in Honey Drown which I knew nothing about until I read the review, an excellent one so I’m looking forward to the play. So far I’ve seen only two movies this summer: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom. Both were at the Cape Playhouse Cinema which presents movies not shown in the usual theaters. This time of year I only go to movie theaters on beautiful sunny days. On rainy days there are few parking spots and fewer seats. Even the Cape Cinema fills though its audience is older than those at the regular theaters. Sometimes when I go there I feel young in comparison.

Today is an agenda less day. They are my favorites of all no matter what time of year.