Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Silence can be a peaceful thing ...

I'm sooo not a morning person.

Yet there I was, fumbling with clumsy fingers and bleary eyes for my phone at the side of my bed. It was 5:15 a.m., the phone's crushingly cheery alarm was saying, "Ding, ding dong ... good morning ... ding, ding, dong ... Buh-buh-buh-BAH-ba, buh-buh-buh-BAH, good morning, it's a beautiful day!" That's my alarm.

Twice a week, I donate plasma as a way of supplementing my income. It's easy to squeeze in the roughly one-hour donation time before work. But because I'm very often -- maybe a little too often -- asked to give rides to Mankato West High School or Dakota Meadows Middle School, I sort of have to get in their early. Real early. Like, get-up-at-5-a.m. early, so that I'm back home in time to cart people around to various educational institutions.

And that's how today started. Except, when I got to the plasma place, I got a 1-day reprieve. They'd lost power overnight, and their plasma collection machines hadn't properly warmed up enough to collect donations from the dozen or so regulars who are there, same time as me, 6 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

So I retreated, wondering whether I should slink back into bed for an hour or throw another K-cup into the Keurig and read the paper.

I opted for coffee.

And beautiful silence.

There's something oddly perfect about a home in the early morning hours. In 60 minutes, Emma will emerge, hair moderately disheveled and jump into the shower. Later, Sam will rise, hair volcanically disheveled, zombie-like, and somehow find his way to the shower as well.

The sounds of cereal will clank nicely against the curve of a Corelle bowl. A minute later, milk will disrupt it all making a perfect marriage of wet and dry just waiting for a spoon. Someone might break out the Nutella and spread it with a butter knife over toast, and that someone might leave little bits of chocolatey goo on the countertop, or caked on the knife (which that someone will simply plunk in the sink in the hopes -- no, the knowledge -- that someone else will make sure it gets in the dishwasher.)

Worries about homework, band concerts and Xbox games will all be addressed. The beagle, who keeps constant vigilance for any morsel dropped onto the floor, will be kiddingly tormented. Someone might sweep his leg like that scene in "The Karate Kid," or fold his ears back and laugh at him, asking him if he is, in fact, a beagle. Then they'll both wrap him up and hug him so much that, finally, you can see his eyes darting around the room, looking for an escape from all that love.

A saxophone will be prepared for transport to middle school, a clarinet to high school. Backpacks will be stuffed with English homework, chemistry equations, math challenge packets or AP U.S. History notes.

Water will run, and the sound of bristles furiously scrubbing teeth and gums will replace the voices telling stories about something Mr. Moore said, or the cannon someone built with red stone on Minecraft.

But for now ...

I'm sitting here in a moment of beauty. Soundless beauty. And the thing that makes it truly beautiful is the fact that I know, in a few moments -- just about enough time for me to finish my cup of Nantucket Blend -- the silence will be broken by the things that make it worth getting up every day.


  1. That's the way to look at the chaos with a positive spin. Well written, Robb.