wake up brother, lift your eyes
feel the sun, see the light
– keep on keeping on | colony house (my morning alarm)
Wake up with some silver-pink dream still clinging to your fingertips. Taste it in the air like cotton candy in late summertime, lingering on reality’s doorstep, waiting for the heavy fog to break. Pull the blankets close to your shoulders and feel the perfect warmth but don’t close your eyes, don’t close your eyes, focus on the pale glow-in-the-dark star above your head and fight the urge to sink back into that alluring world. Think about the evening when you hung that star, and think about the night when you tried to write a song about it, and realize that you’ll forget about both if you don’t do something to remember them.
Glance at the journal by your head, considering, and notice instead the quiet corner where morning light nudges the curtains aside. Early sunshine hovers in a soft, glowing rectangle over a row of hand-me-down clothes, simple in its honest beauty. Remember the morning you took a photo of that corner through blurry eyes and resist the urge to take another. The photographs would be identical—every day, this light is the same—but still, there is something in you that desperately wants to capture it again and again.
Turn towards the wall, notice the cotton-candy feeling dying beneath your skin, and begin a mental list of the people you care about and the assorted ways in which they could meet untimely ends. Sit up, push the blankets away, and feel the freezing cold rush of the ceiling fan against your threadbare t-shirt. Wait for the shivery discomfort to clear your mind, swallowing a mixture of relief and resentment when it works. Climb to the floor—ten years in, and you’ve accepted that there’s no graceful descent from a bunk bed—and stare at the softly breathing, sister-sized pile of blankets in the bed across the room.
Holding your breath a little, walk in the soft way you’ve practiced, past the open doorways that hold the sounds of mattresses creaking gently in their familiar frames. Flip on the bathroom light, scowling at the world as you release your hair from the rubber band it had already mostly escaped from. Switch off the light and come to a stop at the end of the dim hallway, listening. Notice the way the empty kitchen seems to be waiting for you.
Take a detour to the living room, reach for your earbuds, and hit the faithful shuffle button. Switch through a dozen songs, snatches of voices and drumbeats flashing through your ears until you find something quiet and hopeful. Now you can accept the kitchen’s invitation. Step through the doorway and sink your hands deep into a basket of last night’s laundry. Work your way through the pile, folding as your playlist progresses from folk rock to americana to classic country to—
Through the wide front window, a morning fog begins to rise from the pond, curling into the air like steam from a mug. A hesitant light presses through the mist, illuminating the outlines of whispering water plants. You let the towel that you’re holding slip between your fingers as you step to the windowsill, watching the world breathe.
You are alive, and you have done nothing to earn it. In a few short moments, you will put the folded laundry in the closet as the world becomes bright voices and muttered greetings, as the house stretches and comes to life. Your eyes are open and you are wearing your favorite comfortable t-shirt and you did nothing at all to deserve another morning of perfect silence.
there’s a reason you’re alive
come on brother, lift your eyes.