Sunrise at Hebron Hills Farm
“Every morning, even before I open my eyes, I know I am in my bedroom and my bed. But…sometimes I wake up with a feeling of childish amazement: why am I myself? What astonishes me…is the fact of finding myself here, and at this moment, deep in this life and not in any other. What stroke of chance has brought this about?” Simone de Beauvoir
Early mornings have become my favorite time of day ever since I retired and moved up to the farm. This was not always the case, though. Until the summer of 2018, early mornings were the most hectic time of the day, from the moment I leapt out of bed in pre-dawn hours, until I was in my classroom just as the sun made its first full appearance. I often felt I had already failed the day before it had really begun: had I remembered to feed the cat, give the dog a long enough walk, check a child’s homework, bring the writing folders I had labored over back to my students so that they could continue working….???
Early mornings on the farm, however, mirror the “childish amazement” and astonishment de Beauvoir speaks about, the gratitude for being where I am: “deep in this life and not in any other”. There will be the sunrise to savor, my dog and sheep to tend to, a farm house and its grounds to tend to, and a beloved partner with whom to share this good life.
And, as I go about my day, there will also be vestiges of the past to recollect and reflect upon: memories of raising my children, of my students and my teaching life, of journeys taken and books read, of people I’ve loved, of the experiences that a life of many decades affords. All of which now allow me, as well, to wonder: “What stroke of chance has brought this about?”