Another early morning. I woke a bit before 4, but opted to stay in bed until the clock struck four. My office is very dark, except for the light from my notebook computer’s screen. I need a night light in this room so I do not stumble into a box or otherwise cause myself some grief. Even with the light from my computer’s screen, I cannot see my coffee cup on the desk next to me; I need a night light to avoid the unpleasantness of coffee spillage.

Most of yesterday’s scheduled activities went according to plan. But we did not make it to Little Rock for dinner and the Bonnie Raitt concert. I’ll write another time about the reason we missed it. In lieu of driving to Little Rock, attending a concert, staying overnight in a nice hotel, and driving back early this morning, we continued watching another television series we began night before last. I think we may be the only two people in North America who have not already seen Mad Men. Thus far, I’ve found the first few episodes of season one interesting; at least interesting enough to keep me watching. Based on the rave reviews I’ve read and heard, though, I was expecting to find the show absolutely riveting from the start; maybe a few more episodes will put the rivets in place.


By twenty minutes past five, there is barely enough light from the sun to see very, very dim outlines of trees in the forest outside my window. The darkness of night, even with a street light not far from the house, is stunning. Pitch black is an apropos term for it; looking outside is very much like looking into a pit of coal-black tar. But the definition for pitch, used as I just did, is not easy to come by. Used as a noun, dictionaries seem intent on limiting the word to music or inclination or slope. My usage refers to what one online source refers to as “a viscoelastic polymer which can be natural or manufactured, derived from petroleum, coal tar, or plants.” I prefer “pitch” to the longer, more precise definition. But, back to the near-absence of light. I like this mysterious, dark, nearly hidden part of the day. Darkness in the early morning has a different character from darkness at night, even late at night. Early morning darkness has a special feel about it, as if it is in silent communication with the person experiencing it. Early morning darkness and I have a special relationship; an intimacy available only to those of us willing to break with the habit of sleeping in past dawn’s light.


This morning, the last major donation resulting from our move will be made. ReStore, the Habitat for Humanity retail outlet, will pick up the too-tall bed frame and a few other items. And we will load the last of the items in the garage into the borrowed truck and take them to the new house, where we will try to find a place to put them. Despite having had the old house cleaned yesterday, I discovered at the end of the day that the cleaning person missed an entire room; the one off the garage. So, I will have to do a bit of clean-up in there. And I will leave a note for the buyer, giving her details about all the odds and ends she needs to know. I’ll need to go back, too, to clean the oven; I did not ask the cleaning person to do it, so it is up to me. After that, though, there will be no reason to return, except perhaps for one last look at the place I spent the last seven years with my late wife. It is surprisingly difficult, this divestiture of the place where death caused our marriage of almost 41 years came to an unexpected end.


Filtered light has begun to make it possible for me to safely walk outside without tripping or running into trees. Birds have begun to sing and call loudly, alerting the world to the fact that it’s morning. I will go outside now for a brief exploration of the driveway and beyond.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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