24 hours in Lawrence Community stories

Early morning thoughts and observations

Apparently we are living in a Disney cartoon

May 22, 2007


I wake up long before the alarm goes off. The birds start making noise (at 5:30 AM it's noise, not singing) and it's hard to ignore them through the three open windows in our bedroom. My husband rolls over and offers a profanity into his pillow concerning the avian noise level today. I drift in and out of consciousness, trying desperately to remain asleep until the alarm rings.

As I stumble downstairs, I am acutely aware that my knee seems to be popping something new in the ever surprising aging process. How will I ever sneak up on anyone again with what I now refer to as my "Rice Krispy" knee ("snap, crackle, pop")? I make a cup of tea, open all the downstairs windows, and grab the paper to see what has occurred in the world overnight. The bird noise is almost deafening so I walk to the window to check out what's going on in the yard. At the height of our cat period, we had as many as four cats, explaining why birds weren't allowed to even fly over our yard we observed a wildlife-free zone under the watchful eyes of our head huntress cat. Since the death of our last remaining cat, it has become apparent to the critter world that our yard is now fair game. I view what can only be described as a veritable animal kingdom in our backyard this morning all living in harmony, multiplying beyond belief, and not afraid of the two humans inhabiting the same space. My husband swears he has to kick the rabbits out of the way to mow the grass. I refer to a pack of squirrels that nest in the trees around our house as "the boys." There was a baby bunny at our front door a few days ago and I think it would have hopped in if I had opened the door! Apparently we are living in a Disney cartoon, and I would not be surprised to hear the backyard critters sing to me at some point:in English.

I wander out to the patio and watch the sun come up over the KU skyline:it is a gorgeous day:full of promise:the kind of day that puts everyone in an optimistic mood. I hear the steam whistle at KU and remember that it was only a year ago that I was preparing to graduate from that fine institution of higher learning after a 37-year journey between the first time I attended college and May, 2006. I took 18 hours during my last semester and barely remember the last month of college with four huge semester papers and three finals. As I think about the students getting ready for finals, I am so grateful that it isn't me! I can't believe a whole year has passed, but I remember my Mother telling me that as you age, time seems to fly by so quickly.

Sitting at the patio table, the sun is magnificent and it occurs to me that a lot of songs have the word "sun" in the lyrics "Here Comes the Sun," "Good Day Sunshine," "Sunshine Superman," "Ain't No Sunshine," "You are the Sunshine of My Life," "Walking on Sunshine," "Let the Sunshine In," and "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" just to name a few songs from my generation. I start humming the melodies and soon progress to the lyrics some of which I can't totally remember but feel that on such a beautiful day, the sentiment should definitely override my inability to remember the right words. The next door neighbor is gone so she can't hear me, and our home backs up to a church parking lot. The big question is whether or not God would be offended that I am sitting outside in my nightgown, drinking tea, singing the wrong words to songs I can't quite remember (off-key, no less), amidst what can only be described as a critter wonderland all within 120 feet of a house of worship? Dancing would probably be a really bad idea. I'm sure even God has a sense of humor and, if nothing else, can appreciate my joyous spirit this morning!

After all the recent rains, the horticultural results are stunning the world is green, the sun is bright and everything seems possible. I am quite content to enjoy this wonderful Kansas morning and trust that I am not being eaten alive by mosquitoes!

Debbie Pepple is a fellow in the Citizen Journalism Academy.


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