This morning I awoke early and had more time than usual before coming to shul for our Wednesday morning meditation. I let out our chickens, and they emerged tumbling and squawking out of their coop. Looking out through our kitchen window, I could see a large tree on B Street, bare now of any leaves, but in first light covered with birds, maybe three dozen, shadows against the grey sky. I walked outside and saw a large black rabbit, who has been living in the neighborhood the last few weeks. Driving down East Main past Willow Wind, I got to see the usual cavalcade of deer. So many animals out in first light, greeting the dawn.
Winter is a time of waiting. Psalm 130 has within it the wonderful verse – “I am more eager for the Lord than watchmen for the morning, than watchmen for the morning.” The image of someone on the night watch waiting for the dawn – and this being likened to how we long for, or anticipate the Divine – has long been an important one for me, and every winter solstice season it takes on more weight. How do we wait for the dawn, how do we greet the dawn? Who – human or animal – shares the waiting with us?
And then after our sit, checking email I read Galway Kinnell’s poem, “Wait” (via Garrison Keilor’s Writer’s Almanac), which seemed to contain within it similar advice: “Wait, for now. / Distrust everything if you have to. / But trust the hours. Haven’t they / carried you everywhere, up to now?”