Joy comes in the morning • Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson Weaver
Jefferson Weaver

Doodle eyed me suspiciously, then fluffed his neck feathers before announcing the pending new day.

I have no idea why I was up early; it had been a fitful night. I am usually a shamelessly snoring somnambulist by a minute or two past midnight, after a few minutes of reading, some Bible study, prayers and saying good night to my bride. I don’t usually roll, shift or thrash. Once I find my comfortable spot, I move about as much as the Cardiff Giant.

Normally I begin to wake up when the first alarm goes off before six, and rarely make it to the second before I am up and staggering around, in a foul-tempered fog until the coffee brews.

But on this particular night, I had not rested well. I had slept — some forces of nature are nearly impossible to stop, and I was physically exhausted — but I hadn’t slept well. Toni the dog expressed her frustration by moving from my shoulder to the foot of the bed. With a disgusted sigh, she finally trotted off to claim a chair in the living room. 

Miss Rhonda mumbled and grumbled at my fretfulness, so I finally gave up and rolled out at least an hour ahead of schedule. Allison the Cat stirred from her spot on my chest, thoroughly offended that I had the temerity to disturb a higher species like a 14-year-old cat.

A quick shower didn’t really help, so I decided to go ahead and start the day. 

I was always better working at night than in the morning, whereas my father often joked that he had a half-day’s work done before dawn. I love the early mornings, but I prefer to start mine dealing with the farm-stuff, hunting, or running a trapline, rather than confronting the sometimes frustrating world past our gate.

Coffee in hand, I stumbled to the front door to ensure that the world was, indeed, still there. 

Doodle gave me that suspicious look, as the two Bettys fussed and fretted. Several of the outside cats blinked sleepily from their redoubts, concerned over little more than the possibility that I would remove one of them from “their” rocking chair.

I broke my own rule of Not Thinking About Important Things Before Coffee, and tried to determine exactly what had kept me from sleeping. 

There were plenty of options; a friend’s domestic troubles, another friend’s health. Figuring out how to keep the bills paid without robbing Peter to pay Paul any more than usual. 

Then there was the concern over what effect the tax-crazy government would have on my business. Plus the first hints of a return of the civil unrest of last year. There was a brief moment of worry, and a javelin prayer, for the men and women behind the badges, as the previous day had seen the loss of yet another law enforcement officer.

I counted ducks, geese and chickens, and was relieved to have a full roster to start the day. The goats blinked sleepily when I greeted them, and Melanie the mammoth donkey mournfully led the horses up for what they hoped was an early breakfast, her huge donkey lips fluttering and threatening to break the morning with one of her operatic solos.

Although the door had been open all night — another sign of perfect weather — Good William the Ninth acted like he had just been freed into a swamp full of fat coons after six months in a dog box. His mahogany ears flapped as his nose locked onto the ground, and he fairly flew to the end of the driveway, as eagerly reading the morning’s news on the ground as a stockbroker peruses the Wall Street Journal. 

There were a few stars following the lead of Venus, holding on until the very last moment before the sun reclaimed ownership of the day for a little more than ten hours. A jet curved across the lightening sky, too high for his engines to be heard, the contrail leaving a white paintbrush stroke from horizon to horizon. I wondered if pilots still talk about Dawn Patrol, a term coined when airplanes were made of canvas, wood and hope, and the men who flew them could only dream of flying high enough to leave frozen crystals in their wakes, straining to touch the face of God.

One of our owls sang to the departing night, and one of our big woodpeckers got an early start on the day, hammering at a dying pine to breakfast on the worms inside. One of the braver squirrels chittered and cursed from the start of the trail through the horse pasture, and another responded in language that would have gotten a young mouth washed out with soap when I was a kid.

Balancing a coffee cup and the ever-present walking stick is never advisable, but I made my way across the front yard to the driveway. The lane to our house parallels the old rail bed, and so grants a perfect east-west line for sunrises and sunsets. I leaned on my truck as the sun finally broke free of the night’s grasp and rose, victorious. 

The problems were still there, and still as vaguely defined as they were hard to solve. Yet I realized it might not have been the problems that led me to stand outside in a disreputable robe in a purple-blue dawn when the first hints of the earliest sun threatened to burst forth through the pines.

I realized that it was more than likely something even greater. God was trying to get my attention and tell me not to worry about it, because whatever “it” was, He had it under control.

I was surrounded by His creations, evidence of His love, proof of His ability, but it took an almost sleepless night to realize that the verse is true: though the sorrow may last for a night, the joy comes in the morning.

All we have to do is look and listen.

About Jefferson Weaver 2095 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].