I cannot squander this moment. The hour of the dawn between darkness and light, the gentle reddening of the sun and the choral chant of birds singing in the curve of the branches, the wonder of the world waking up from the night’s torpor. The grass and the flowers bow in unison to the breeze passing by and the lone cow ambles along without the nagging presence of the cowherd.
The everyday takes on an aura of magic and the flaws that fly open under the glare of the day lie concealed in the serenity of silence. “By giving the commonplace a higher meaning, by making the ordinary look mysterious, by granting to what is known the dignity of the unknown and imparting to the finite a shimmer of the infinite,” the dawn romanticises everything.
This is also the moment when existential questions raise their head and wake up your conscience with a jolt, for introspection. All the regrets and the remorse you have ever felt comes crowding into your mind, things done and things undone, acts of omission and commission. Have I forgiven enough? Have I forgotten enough? Have I stood up for things I believed in at least some of the time or merely looked away when things looked difficult and wrong? A stocktaking with unshed tears trembling in my heart, leaving me confronting myself in the silence of the dawn where there is no judgment or jury, giving me space and time for resolution and reconciliation.
There are also remembered joys of moments savoured and let go with time, that I turn to for sustenance. I look up and see the white flowering tree that spreads its largesse and fragrance on the street sending out rays of hope. The flower fall, like the leaf fall of autumn, reminds me of the transience of all things beautiful, of the dawn that will soon break into day, its silence melting into the tumult of everyday life. The silence of the dawn helps me not only to ruminate but to realise the fleeting nature of time and a humbling acceptance that nothing lasts, everybody leaves. All beauty is ephemeral, and all love we cling to with desperation becomes in the end merely a grand memory. Pico Iyer says in his book Autumn Light, Season Of Fire and Farewells that in the midst of flux and change, it is possible to settle comfortably and forge a life of cherished attainment by carving out a mundane routine with the steadying patterns of everyday rituals like going for a walk, cooking the day’s meal, picking up a book or threading a needle. “I see its in the spaces where nothing is happening one has to make a life.”
Virginia Woolf rings in too: “What is the meaning of life? The great revelation never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck in the dark.”
In this ineffable hour of the dawn I understand that what makes life meaningful is the collection of impermanences with which it is made up. Tolstoy says, “If then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say, “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work look around you.”
It could have been the hour of the dawn.