Each weekday morning I rise early, walk slowly down the stairs and begin to feel the stiffness in my muscles ease as I start the coffee pot and open the door to my lovely porch -- the sunrise filters through the branches of the old white pines and reflects on the windows I open to let in the fresh autumn air. As the coffee brews, I watch the birds at the feeder and sometimes see a deer or two passing through in search of an early morning meal. The quiet of these autumn mornings is such a contrast to the lively birdsong of spring. I love this old house, with its familiar coziness, and long to linger on the porch for a bit, but school has begun and my daughter-in-law is back to work, so I must hurry down to take care of my grandchildren.
As I walk through the door of their house, I am greeted by the precious little faces I love so much. I begin the familiar morning routine to get them ready for the day ahead. During scattered moments, I pause to savor the beauty of my son's house -- so new and pristine and different from my own home. My favorite spot is their kitchen with its sunlit mullioned windows and French door leading to the lovely deck my son designed and built. This morning the windowsill holds an old Ball canning jar brimming with roses and a pot of basil, whose scent lingers on my fingers as I touch the leaves. Sunlight falls on the jar of roses, and I am thankful for this moment.
For a woman of 62, taking care of preschoolers is a tiring and demanding job. In the midst of temper tantrums and diaper changes I remind myself that I have chosen this life so that my grandchildren will know daily security and love while their parents work. I have the time to listen to their questions and give thoughtful answers; the bond between us is strong.
Perhaps, though, it would have been a wiser choice to take a job in the real world after our business collapsed last year. Perhaps I wouldn't be struggling to make ends meet. Sometimes I so much miss dinner out and buying sprees at the book store. But, this morning as I savor the beauty of a jar of roses in the sunlight and look forward to a leisurely walk through the neighborhood later -- enjoying a couple of beautiful cottage gardens along the way -- I know my spirit was not meant to be contained in an airless office. My spirit needs to be free; it needs to be one with nature, and it needs time to reflect upon and enjoy the world around me. I may be lacking in material wealth, but I am so rich in spirit!