My favourite morning hour is 6 to 7 before the world is awake and bright and loud. This is when I walk the dogs. My favourite evening hour is 8 to 9 after the sun has sunk below the treeline but there is still light in the sky and in the shadows. This is when I tend my gardens.
"What are you doing?" came the voice through the dusk.
"Collecting rocks," I replied.
We have a pile of slate rock at the edge of our property -- there is nothing better than a rock pile in the backyard -- and after the sun goes down, I know I won't come across a snake snoozing on a warm stone. While tending my gardens, I notice places that need something -- helenium there, echinacea here, rudebekia everywhere -- and often I choose to fill gaps with rocks. So in the evening, when my energy has returned after supper, I fill the wheelbarrow with thick, flat rocks. The chickens have gone to roost now and my husband is shutting them up for the night.
"Want me to help?" he calls to me. He doesn't understand my fascination with rock but he's put in a call for more.
My standard answer: "No. Thank you."
None of this is work. It is a meditation. Crickets and peace are found in the tall grass.
Then there is the ritual of communion. We built a deck on the south side of the house, off the bedroom, so that my husband can sit and watch the ospreys. Morning, noon, evening, that's where you find him (unless it's Happy Hour, when I get home from work; then he's on the front deck keeping the wine glasses topped up). He swears the ospreys talk to him.
It's our favourite deck now because it sits under two expansive maple trees so it is shady and cool even on a 33 degree day. We like it so much, our only cushioned deck furniture is out there (which the cat appreciates as well).
A different happy hour after the sun has set. After my bath, after boiling the kettle, I join my husband last night on this deck with my mug of lemon water. It's late August and the change came a few weeks ago: shorter days, cooler nights, the disappearance of bugs. I want to buy notebooks and pens, embrace the thrill of clean slates and the promise of days to fill with words and drawings and new clothes.
I wished to stay in Grade One forever but I had to learn to read.
We sat out there until ten o'clock, giving it up only because it was bedtime. Said good night to the moon filling the rabbits' eyes with light, good night to the stars quivering on the tips of leaves. Reading helps me fall asleep, helps me sleep well if it's not a mystery. Last night, I started reading a memoir written by a woman who watched her husband have a stroke. A Hundred Names For Love is the title of the book. I could find a hundred names for peace. Doesn't matter if the book is sad (we've all been there, haven't we?) because her writing is rich and pure, like a meditation.