The Teachers

The Teachers

I’m a morning person. I like to tell people that I must have been a farmer in another life because, when left to my own natural rhythms, I wake at about 4am and I’m ready for sleep at 8pm. I know, I’m kinda dull huh? I’ve adjusted to a more traditional pattern of rising later and then staying up a bit later at night, but lately I seem to be back in my more natural rhythm.

I do my best writing, praying and creating in those early morning hours. I’ve been known to putter in the garden even before the morning light or just sit quietly in the backyard with our dog and sip mugs of coffee. Recently I came eye to eye with a fox that had climbed our fence. We just looked at each other quietly for a bit before he meandered his way back over the fence.

Two large barred owls joined me recently. Although it was already light, I was surprised how long they stayed as I just sat and talked with them.

For me, there is magic in those morning hours. There is holiness as I listen to sounds of the wrens on my feeders or watch the chipmunks as they poke their heads out to say hello. I like hearing the pitter-patter of our dog’s paws on the patio as she explores her realm. The dawn of the day is silent, but not really, as the music of the morning caresses my soul.

These morning companions are my teachers as I open my mind and heart to what is around me. These are my teachers who bring the peace and stillness to my day.


The Teachers
by Mary Oliver

Owl in the black morning,
mockingbird in the burning
slants of the sunny afternoon
declare so simply

to the world
everything I have tried but still
haven’t been able
to put into words,

so I do not go
far from that school
with its star-bright
or blue ceiling,

and I listen to those teachers
and others too—
the wind in the trees
and the water waves—

for they are what lead me
from the dryness of self
where I labor
within the mind-steps of language—

lonely, as we all are
in the singular,
I listen hard
to the exuberances

of the mockingbird and the owl,
the waves and the wind.
And then, like peace after perfect speech,
such stillness.


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