“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
~ Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays
It’s cold this morning. Four am meditation finished, the house still silent with sleep. Last night’s fire rendered down to ash.
I push the back door of our little farmhouse open and am hit with a blast of air metallic with frost. The night sky is lit with stars. Far away at the neighbours I hear the faint song of a rooster as he senses that sunrise is just behind the lip of the hills that surround us.
Filling my arms with the heavy weight of ironbark splits I push back through the door and kneel by the fireplace. Hands already numb with cold fumble twigs and crumpled paper on top of the bed of ash. It smoulders and catches before I can find a match. I feed the logs onto the flames and swing the door of the combustion stove shut. My hair is scented with woodsmoke now and I sit for a moment to watch the gathering dawn outside my window as the sky above the orchard turns from black to silver.
The fireplace creaks and clatters as the metal expands. Fingers of red and orange lick at the old dry timber and the fire roars to life.
I fill the kettle with water that tastes of clean earth and rain. While it heats I light a stick of incense, and hear the first sleepy stirrings of the dogs stretching and yawning themselves awake.
Outside in the silvery light a pair of wallabies graze on the grass beneath the lemon tree. Soon I hear their soft thuds as they bound down the side of the house, making for the river flats.
Today, five days after our retreat ended, it is time to come back out into the world again. Restored. Refreshed. Ready.
I pour water over tea leaves. I turn on my computer and sit at the kitchen table waiting for the tea to draw and the room to warm. Birds begin to sing their morning songs.
The dogs are awake now. They push past me and stand with their noses pressed against the door, waiting to be let outside. Their tags wag furiously and I feel their joy.
It’s a new day, bright with possibility.
Good morning! I’m sending much love to you. May you find a little solitude for yourself too today. <3 Nicole xoxo