At 5:30 AM it’s very dark indeed. Darkest before the dawn. The misty fog from the previous night’s shower felt cool to the skin and spoke of renewal. As I sat quietly, I could hear everything and nothing. The chirping of a nearby cricket, the occasional “who” of an owl and the beating of my heart; and in between – silence.
Across the street, I saw the light flicker on inside the rancher with a large pick-up and Mini Cooper parked in the drive way. “Why are they up so early?” I wonder. “What are they thinking? Are they happy? Do they have struggles to go thru this day AND joy?” So many questions for people, like me, trying to make sense of a life lived within the mist and fog.
The fingernail sliver of a moon, that was not three weeks ago deemed a “Supermoon,” broke through the clouds and reflected in a puddle of fresh rainwater a few feet from where I sat. In fifteen minutes it would jump from that puddle to an adjoining puddle – marking time.
I sensed the gray of the fog start to give way to sun rising from the east. Stirrings in the rancher across the street and the smell of coffee reminded me that coffee awaited me in my own house and just how much I enjoyed that first morning cup.
I heard the familiar lonesome whistle of a cargo train paralleling the James River come wafting through the mist. “How many trains have I heard in my fifty six years?” I wondered.
I felt peaceful and happy. This was my first full day off of my new part time job at home. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, and working at home has been amazing. I work from 1-8PM four days (M-W and Sat), and the first three days of working have alreadybeen like a vacation in itself. I think this is going to be okay.
I sat there in the graying daybreak and thanked God for watching over me during this transition from teaching to semi-retirement. I thanked him for my gorgeous wife. I thanked him for my two kids living at home with us (temporarily) and how much joy they bring to us. No one makes me laugh like Catherine and Jack. I thanked him also for bringing my son, Andy, and his wife back home in a couple of weeks from Hawaii. I would have thanked Him for even more but my phone rang. “I’m lost and I can’t see a thing a on this road” cried out Lynn. You see this moment of reverie I was in was done while sitting side saddle on my bike with a flat tire on River Road while waiting for her to come save me. Too dark to change a tire so I called her at 5AM, and she sleepily agreed to come get me.
She found me after I calmed her down, and brought Lenny (our terrier) along for moral support. He seemed a bit excited.
The flat tire that morning taught me something. It taught me that this quasi-retirement has been a good thing for me. When I felt the tire go flat, I simply pulled off to the side of the road, assessed the damage, and called my VERY patient wife. Then I decided to sit and listen to my heart. My heart told me this flat tire was a blessing because it gave me the quiet and peace I needed to file the random feelings that i had left unfiled into their appropriate folders.
The fog, the sliver of a moon, the chirping, the hoot of an owl, and sound of a train were all filing tabs for these thoughts and whispers from a God until now ignored. My hope is that I have more flat tires in my future.