Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Remember a Clear Morning

This Pillow Book entry is inspired by The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon, translated and edited by Ivan Morris. Sei Shōnagon was a courtesan in 10th century Japan who kept a diary of the goings-on at court and concealed it in her wooden pillow. She made lists under various categories of specific, often quirky things.

I remember a clear morning, before the heat of the day comes crashing down, a weight on my chest making each hot breath a struggle. The sun has yet to rise. The sky is all pink swirls of feathery clouds.

A blue jay lands in the branches of a redbud tree. It twists its head, surveying the area, assessing his safety. A twig breaks in the forest and he flutters away. I peer into the darkness beyond the tree line and try to determine a shape within the shadows.

A soft wind rustles the leaves of the redbud and carries the fuchsia blooms of a crape myrtle:  a waterfall of petals that flow through the air across the waking dawn to land in the sun-singed grass.

The smell of freshly-brewed coffee wafts through the open window. Soon the sun will poke its round head above the tree-lined horizon. I will close the window, barring the overwhelming heat. The mechanical whirl of the fan will replace the sounds of a cicada buzzing, a mockingbird's song, a squirrel complaining in the branches of a maple. The stale air will begin to circulate through the dust-filled vents and the scent of summer blooms will dissipate.

I will draw the thick curtains against the bright heat of mid-morning and see which stories have gained the status "newsworthy."