waking slow

The sun brings on the day. Not headlines or pocketbooks. Definitely not desire. Fear plays no part in the cosmos. Those stars do what they do no matter what. Wish upon them all you want. The universe doesn’t care much about your Facebook posts. Your Twitter feed. What you’re wearing. Who you’re dreaming about. What you want to be whenever you stop being what everyone else expects you to be.

I’m up early and empty. I hear my kids waking for school.

My daughter’s footsteps sound little again. Not twelve-year-old heavy. More like four. I imagine her in a long nightshirt, coming downstairs, clutching lamby. Calling for Daddy. But those days have passed. Too soon already. She’s tall, wears eyeshadow. Is stiff as a board when I steal a hug.

Today, at a track meet, my boy will run and high jump and do things with his sixteen-year-old body that I never did. I’ll be there, watching. Wondering at the fact that now, I’ll never catch up to him. This same boy that ran and ran and ran with me across yards and fields.

My wife strolls through the house, light as a feather, talking to the cats, petting the dogs. She is what daybreak should be. She eases into morning better than anyone I’ve ever known. I love her for that.

Makes me think of Roethke and his The Waking.

I wake to sleep and take my waking slow.

When did I get away from books? That big feeling that secrets were kept in letters strung together. Who knows? Desperation too early in life, I suppose. All that creativity and potential drowned in drinking. Trying too hard to be what I thought I’d be instead of learning by going where I had to go.  

But all that bad decision-making, as well as some good, has brought me here. A new day in early May writing from the basement of our big old house with my family making sounds above. Silverware, plates, and bowls. Cupboards closed. Chair legs across the wooden floor. Backpacks zipping. The click of the trash can lid. And their footsteps, from room to room, place to place, getting them ready to go.

“This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.   

What falls away is always. And is near.   

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   

I learn by going where I have to go.”

~ KJ


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