First Light: First Things First 1.1.2019

dear ones,

This morning as I sit at my writing table in the brilliant sunshine, this is what this day’s mid-morning light reveals. It’s 43 degrees Fahrenheit with a light sea breeze wafting in from the tidal cove where Little River drains into the Gulf of Maine. For most Mainers, this is an energizing and balmy start to the first day of the new year. Up toward this way, one learns that there is a big difference between 10 degrees with a windy overcast sky and 40 degrees in the sunshine.

Reflections of the ever-changing light of each day are what move me to pay closer attention to what surrounds me. As the years go by, I’m increasingly aware that each intertwined moment of Light and Life is fleeting. The approach and passing of each moment is nearly imperceptible unless one is intentional about keeping watch. When I stop moving, I become more atuned to each moment. I better understand that every element of our eternal existence is alive and at play. We are the Light. So as part of my morning prayer practice, I’m resolved to keep watch every morning from this spot and lend witness to the movement of each day’s first light, day after day. Sometimes I’ll have lots to say, sometimes I won’t.

I’m channeling the spirit of E.B. White’s letters from Maine, his homie narratives were first published in The New Yorker from 1938-1983. I’ll mostly muse about the mundane and the sublime, record the weather and tides, and offer a few thoughts on the events of the approaching day. His elements of style guide mine. One of these days I’ll tell you about the time the kids and I lived for a season at E.B. White’s saltwater farm near North Brooklin ME, in a renovated shake-shingle shelter once reserved for his brooding hens. I spent those timeless autumn days reading everything E.B. White typed out while seated at a simple wooden table he crafted to support his manual typewriter. Thanks to the dearest of friends, I too found safe harbor within his weathered grey boathouse overlooking Allen Cove.

And so it came to be that on this first day of 2019, I have the south-facing screened windows wide open near my own writing table. A rainstorm passed through last night and dropped a fair amount of rain. I was motivated to open the windows this morning when I noticed that the moisture on the weathered grey shake-shingles of my house is evaporating into steam in the bright morning sunshine.

As I focus in on Little River Cove, surveying the light of a new day, I sit at my own wooden table  in order to quiet myself and listen. It’s not an easy task. My mind wanders. In the stillness of my sit, I perceive a distant roar which I can’t quite pinpoint. It might be the strong breeze riding over the rocky schist ridges which surround us, an unseen wind stirring the bare branches higher up in the tree tops; or it could be the surf of the Gulf of Maine which is pounding the breakers at the mouth of Little River Cove as last night’s wind storm passes down east. Storms on the sea ripple out farther than the eye can see. Deeper listening assures me that indeed the dull roar is both, sea and sky, wind and wave.

First Light is continually in flight. Old Sol seemingly rises and shines right into my eyes. He keeps a course nearer to the southern horizon during these winter months, traveling westward across the sky, marking time. The days are short and the nights are long this time of year. The moon, Bella Luna, keeps an equally bright trajectory across the night sky as she waxes and wanes, moving the tides in her wake. Sometimes in her fullness, Bella awakens me, casting bright shadows through the treetops and onto the luminescent blue snowdrifts. Throughout each night, the brightest and best stars keep to their slow turning, guiding us as we continually seek our bearings.

As I write to you on this first day of the year, I often wish we all dwelt nearer to each other and that our paths crossed more often. And yet,  the quietness of solitude is something to be cherished too. I trust it will continue to be our common prayers, both spoken and unspoken, which pull us all together, in the fullness of time.

and so it goes,

Maria

For further reading:

The Simply Elegant ‘Letters of E.B. White’

https://www.nytimes.com/1985/10/02/books/eb-white-essayist-and-stylist-dies.html

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