[I wrote this little piece as an assignment for a “Writing with Mindfulness” workshop I participated in last summer.]
I awake in our comfortable, queen-sized marriage bed after a good night’s sleep. A crow squawks from the yard outside the two wide adjoining windows to my right, and cicadas hum in the trees on this fresh first morning of August. Andrea is already up, the smell of brewing coffee wafting up the stairs.
Sitting up on my side of the bed, grateful for the luxury of retirement, taking in the organic order of our communal space. Rushing cars sound faintly from the nearby highway, reminding me of many years of commuter angst. But one year into this new phase of life, I pause contentedly before rising, mindfully appreciating the luxury of my personal freedom.
I take in the light and air from the two open windows overlooking the trees, garden and patio of the backyard. A ceiling fan silently propels cooling air down. The door to the adjoining bathroom in the right far corner is slightly ajar.
On either side of our bed rest side-tables with reading lights, and against the walls on either side, our respective bookcases. A pink upholstered arm-chair sits on my side as well. A wicker clothes hamper rests next to the bathroom door, its sides slightly tattered from our old cat Honey’s frequent clawings. Honey’s little oval bed rests atop ours at the foot, empty now.
To the left of the hamper is Andrea’s closet with its wood-slatted, folding door now closed. My closet is further left – about four feet wide, same as hers, with the same slatted, folding wooden door. Between the closets on the far wall is a small altar-table holding a carved wooden cross, with small renditions of Jesus on either side – Christ the King on one side, a Jesus in seated, yoga-meditation pose on the other. Above the altar hangs a framed lithograph titled “Materia” that we purchased in the early years of our marriage almost thirty years ago from a young local artist. It’s a stylized depiction of two lovers sitting across from one another with a smaller feminine figure between them, joining them at the waist.
Along Andrea’s side of the bed, against the far wall, is a long, squat chest-of-drawers, with three teak drawers for her, three for me. Resting along the top of the chest are small framed pictures of us and our two adopted children and our deceased parents.
The door to the hallway and stairs is just beyond the chest of drawers. A small mirror hanging on the wall above the hamper, next to the bathroom, is the only other wall adornment. It has a filigree silver frame and little doors that open to reveal the enclosed mirror. Its fine crafting evokes memories of the market in San Miguel de Allende where we bought it a decade ago.
An oblong oriental throw-rug traverses the hardwood floor at the foot of the bed, our shared area for morning stretches and yoga. Before I rise to do my stretches there, I notice the quiet peace and satisfaction that comes with this heightened perception of a space that I usually take for granted. I pause in appreciation, making a little prayer of gratitude for another day to live and breathe, in harmony with the one I love.
John Bayerl, August 1, 2016