Early mornings, prior to sunrise at Rahallinen Farm, have come to offer subtle gifts.
The mind has not yet assailed its owner with the usual unending loop of cognition-as though during this time of respite, it has not yet awakened to the daily rituals of consciousness. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School, has often stated that the default mode of the mind, is to go backwards and forwards, but rarely, without training, does it stay in the current moment. A patient of mine fondly recalls that his father, noticing when he was having a difficult time following his return from the Vietnam War, would tell him to "Be where you are." These moments in solitude are a welcome opportunity to practice mindfulness-a dedicated effort to stay in the present moment, without judgment. No avoidance, nor fusion with difficult thoughts and feelings. Like the camera-simply an observer.
Between 4:00 and 5:00 A.M., the dog and I can usher in daylight, assisted by whatever sings, growls, barks, or slithers in my woods during the first of dawn. On this morning, aside from the ubiquitous Robin trills, the resident Coyote pack gave a 20 second serenade that George Romero could have found use for in his horror classic from the early 70's, Night of the Living Dead. The dog, now used to these canine howl-fests, no longer barks in response to his long-distant relatives, but stares out the sliding glass patio door, mused with head cocked to one side or the other. July in the Western U.P.- the roadsides, if you squint a tad, are nicely unfolding into a Monet-like carpet of wildflowers.