Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Morning Air [CCR]

As I drove to the office this morning I watched the fog roll over the top of the corn stalks and gently down to the adjacent soy bean field. It provides a wonderful backdrop to the rising sun, the aged wood barn, and half buried tractor revealing the passage of time. Mornings are very special. You see the world new again as it wakes. And on the cool mornings as the rising sun warms the air you feel the crispness of fall lying just around the corner. So goes mornings here in the Midwest.

But there was something even more special to me rising to those mornings in the South. As a small child we didn’t have a house full of air conditioning nor did my grandparents have the benefit of artificial climate control. We slept with the windows open in the summer and could feel the early morning cool breeze sweep open the curtains in the windows. That cool breeze usually carried the aroma of breakfast cooking in the kitchen. If that weren’t enough to rouse your senses at my grandparents the rooster had sensed the same new day and began his crow to announce his prominence in the barnyard.

Home had other ways to tease your senses in the mornings. One sense was the missing gentle song of the insects that lulled you to sleep. With the rising sun came their time to end the all night festivities and take their own time to rest. The morning also brought the fresh smell of the dew on the kudzu leaves filling the air. My sister and I often took turns watching out the window for the school bus as we scrambled to find those last scraps of homework. After getting on the bus we opened the windows and felt the breeze blowing in our face with aroma as we rolled down the hill on Moody Lane towards Malone Creek.

Summers and weekends gave you other reminders that weren’t necessarily brought by nature. The farmers took advantage of every moment available to nurse their crops and the sound of tractors beginning their morning work could be heard after breakfast. Later in the morning you would hear the planes spraying their defoliant we called cotton poison on the white fields of cotton around the house. That continuous buzz of the plane as it danced its way across the fields was a natural summer sound for those of us in the midst of the fields.

We had other signs of mornings that accompanied special activities. Since we heated our house with wood, Dad and I spent many Saturday mornings gathering wood for our winter stash. We left early so we could get a load in before the heat of the day took its toll on our progress. Those mornings added the smell of the fresh cut wood to the air as we loaded our old Chevy truck.

And then there were those special mornings when Dad woke me long before the sun had begun to glaze the horizon. It was a day off from other work to go fishing. The smell of the Tennessee River in the morning as we baited our hooks and anticipated our catch was even unique and something I really miss here in the Midwest. You would hear the lapping of the water against our small boat as the fishing line bobbed in the glittering orange morning light attempting to lure a fish to breakfast.

Mornings not only remind us to be thankful for the rising sun, but also provide a reminder that today is truly a new day. And with those mornings here I can flush my mind of the day’s upcoming tasks and reflect on those memories of growing up back in the Shoals. The sounds, the smells, and the sights of mornings have a way of taking one back to the good memories and is a way of preparing for what this day will bring.