Why I Eat Late

The night is another world. Everything
– no matter how disparate – belongs.
When the day breaks, we re-member
the separation that we are taught and
forget that there is something to discover
today, maybe just one thing – that really
matters. But now I am muddled with
sleepiness and the dregs of dissolving
dreams. Hungry as the proverbial horse.
I stay the hand that reaches for breakfast
and stumble into the brightness of day,
where mysteries hide. Because

there is this old farmer’s creed –
tend to the animals before feeding
yourself. So I haul the manure to
the trench to compost. Scrub the
water troughs and fill them with
fresh water. Bring heaping bowls
of food to the guardian dogs that
work outside all night. Fling sheaves
of musky hay to the gossiping goats
and the small donkeys with satellite
ears. Scatter mealworms and black
oil sunflower seeds to the United
Nations of nattering chickens. Then

I pull off muddy boots and gloves.
Climb the stairs to the small sanctuary.
Grind oily coffee beans and wait for
the sounds of the old Italian kettle to
whistle. Wash the still-warm eggs from
the morning’s plunder and crack them
into the iron skillet with melting butter.
Add herbs and garlic from the garden.
At 9:30 or 10:00, finally, bon appétit!
And then it’s nearly midday. Still as
slumber, still waiting to be noticed is
the hidden thing. It carries no papers
of proof, bears no burden of legitimacy.
But if you are willing to believe in miracles,
consider this: for a short while your life
belongs to you. And if you pay attention,
you belong to your life.


Why I Wake Early

by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.