Bruno wakes me, cold nose against my hand. I am in bed, in a cabin by a lake. My daughter, young adult now, is sleeping peacefully beside me. I hear her breathing. Bruno will have none of it. He gives a little whine. His tail is thumping. I don’t need to find a clock to know it is around 5 a.m. A dog is a better time keeper than any electronic device.
Along my way to the door I find a coat but no shoes. There is a cold brew of Mexican coffee waiting for me in the car. Bruno and I both go out barefoot and paw.
I return to my room to find the laptop. My daughter wakes enough to say “Merry Christmas” and then tell me she will sing with me if I don’t want to sing alone. I tell her we’ve got hours before sunrise. “Good” she says as she burrows back down. With coffee and laptop I find my way to a corner of the kitchen where I make a little space for myself on the floor.
Here I am. This is now. This morning’s text comes from my Father. “Merry Christmas to my favorite daughter”… I am his only daughter. He doesn’t know about this discipline of gratitude through song but today I will sing for him. What song? My Girl by The Temptations.
It is an interesting thing to me that a bird can harmonize with itself. It is because they have a syrinx, a double voice box. I am thinking about this when my sister in law joins me in the kitchen. We have coffee together. We are here. This is now. We talk about our sons and daughters and we talk about who is not here, but really is.
My family gathers on the back porch leaning into each other’s warmth and looking at the words of Smokey Robinson on the laptop. We sing and in my heart there is the knowledge that there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.