FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Before sunrise.


by Dave Markwell

I woke up at 4:30 this morning with an unusual amount of “aliveness”. I’m not sure why I woke up at 4:30 or why I was feeling so alive at such an hour, but life is funny. I heard the birds talking and smelled the sweet, salty, mid-summer breeze wafting through my bedroom window and knew it was time: Time to get up and be alive. And so I did.

It’s nice when this happens. Many mornings, it is easy to enjoy the false death of sleep and postpone leaving our comfy little cocoons to enter the world of responsibilities. We cover our heads and stall and enter the day already late. It’s nice to be early. The world and the coffee are more magnificent as the sky lightens and the birds and dogs and trees stir to life. It’s nice to be among them. We belong here; alive, with other alive things.

Tomorrow morning, my thirteen year old daughter and I embark on a nice little week-long vacation. We will travel well. Without the distractions of our daily lives, we will talk about important things and nothings and be alive together. This happens too infrequently, but it’s nice when it does. We will cook and eat and play cards and laugh. She will amaze me with her ever-evolving wit and I her with my seemingly ever-evolving stupidity. I’m comfortable with both.

Her world is getting more complicated, while mine is getting simpler. Certain times in life bring us awareness and insight regarding things we value. Understanding, very clearly, these things allows us to strip down the stuff that doesn’t matter. It is here with our short lists of important things that we can focus on where we are, want to be, or simply enjoy an early morning waking with the sun.

We cannot come to this time without other times. So, as much as I would wish to share the peace of my short list with my kids, I cannot. The trimming of our lists involves bruises and scars and time. They must experience all sides of life to find their own important things. We suffer an uncomfortable amount of life dealing with unimportant things to arrive at the place we belong. It’s the price of admission to ride our spinning globe. But, it’s a fair deal.

Enjoying a morning with the robins and summer wind, feeling one’s heartbeat, believing in wonder and magic, and the potential of a day before sunrise foretells a good day and a good life. The powerful undercurrent of this faith moves our blood and bodies and is as necessary as air. Trusting our own voice and understanding that we are only truly beholden to our own, carefully crafted, list of important things is liberating and right, as our tickets on this ride are not without expiration dates. Breathing an early morning of earth and driving a two-laner with my baby girl riding shotgun top my short list and are good reasons to be alive. I haven’t found better…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). He also runs the new Waterland Arcade, located at 22306 Marine View Drive South. Dave extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, Dave needs more friends – find him on Facebook here.


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