A reflection on the beauty of a country morning celebrates a pristine time that can be a metaphor for life itself.

“Stop! Help!” I hear myself scream, as the automobile ruthlessly bears down upon me. People are striding along the sidewalk just a few long feet from me, but they keep right on about their business. Just as the car is about to strike me down, an irritating jangling noise interrupts near my right. I leave the tragic scene behind with relief, and blindly and automatically grope for the button that stops the reprieving alarm.

I slowly and laboriously open my eyes and look around. The blanket is askew, and my feet are cold from hanging over the edge of the bed. I squint at the bright, early morning sunlight, and remember that I’m to take the tractor and mower out to mow a few rounds of hay before breakfast at eight o’clock. The alarm clock reads five-thirty.

I hop out of bed and skip over to the small rectangle of sunlight on the floor where it is slightly warmer than the rest of the linoleum. By this time the goose pimples are in their glory, and the temptation to crawl back into my warm bed is all but overpowering.

I slip into my cold, comfortably battered moccasins and proceed to don my rumpled everyday shorts and summer blouse. The goose pimples are still very much present, and I decide to add an old flannel shirt to my costume—one that can be shed as the July sun climbs higher into the sky. I move to the dresser, and after a glance into the mirror, am comforted by the thought that I probably won’t be going anywhere today, anyway. The reflection dazedly staring back at me reveals a head of hair with what appears to be almost seventeen cowlicks; some faint, reddish impressions across my cheek, from the creases in the pillowcase; and a pair of dreamy, bedroom eyes—a pillow under each one! It’s enough to startle anyone to alertness.

I go downstairs and peel a banana while wondering how anyone could get up any earlier and still survive. I step outside into the cool, fresh morning air, and it seems that the earth is never as clean as in the early morning.

The thought occurs to me that this may also be true of life itself—it is never quite so clean as in the very early years.

One of the first sounds to reach my ears is the faint, steady chugging of the milking machine in the barn, and the impatient bawling of a hungry calf. I march down the steps, across the gravel driveway, and into the shadow of the barn, elongated by the sun behind it, and where the grass is still cool and wet, and swishes faintly, seemingly in protest, as my moccasins steal the droplets from it.

I reach the barn, which smells of straw, animals, and warm milk, and hesitate a moment on the doorstep to fondle a kitten or two that comes eagerly running at the sound of my footsteps. I proceed to the rear of the barn, where Dad is milking the placid, ever-cud-chewing cows, and ask him if there are any ‘last minute’ instructions before I go out to the hayfield behind the barn. He says, “No, I opened the field last night, so you don’t have to worry about the outside round. Just be careful on the corner—you may have to loop them, and always watch so the blades don’t clog up. I’ll let you know when it’s time to come in.” Thus informed, I make my way back through the barn, and outside.

The waiting tractor, with mower hitched to it, is parked under the wide spreading limbs of the aged and friendly box elder tree. I look out across the fields and my eyes take in the misty haze, the silvery green meadows laden with sparkling dew, and a few black and white cattle grazing here and there. A very peaceful and contented scene, I reflect.

I clamber up onto the tractor seat, pull the ignition lever, and the power springs into action. I roll out to the end of the driveway, stop to look for oncoming traffic, and finding none, continue out onto the road. I pass by a beautiful, but small, wooded section with a stream winding through it, gurgling merrily. I turn into the field, pull up alongside the standing hay, and stop to let the big, treacherous blade down. This accomplished, I again assume my position on the tractor.

I just sit there a few minutes, watching a robin feeding its young and chirping in a nearby wild cherry tree. Those young birds are in their morning, I contemplate. I glance down and see a gopher scurrying under some limp, fallen hay. A pair of butterflies are already at play, their pale, yellow wings fluttering and hesitating as they alight for a second on a large, sweet clover blossom. All around me is nature at its finest, its cleanest, and most innocent.

A car goes by on the road, its top a white-crystal from the dew yet resting there. Probably someone on their way to work. By now it must be about six-thirty. Time to get started.

But still I linger, soaking up, as it were, the cool vitality of the air and surroundings. “Why,” I consider, “can’t, or don’t people remain as fine and clean as the country morning? Maybe that’s why everyone wants to stay young, but hates to get up in the morning, because then they can already see the end of the day approaching. I wonder….”

Well, I’d better get to work now, or Mom will have breakfast ready before I even get started.

Contributed by: Adrienne Faist

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