The hours between 5 and 8 o’clock in the morning are a study in extremes around here. At 5, the house is wrapped in stillness. Nothing is stirring, not even the birds, and certainly not the teenagers, nor The Man We Call Dad.
By 6 o’clock (and certainly by 6:30 at the lastest), at least one of the teenagers has come to life, often in a frantic flurry of clothes finding and breakfast making and schoolbook packing. The birds have unpiled themselves from their funny little sleeping pile (they sleep together in one tiny birdhouse, all piled atop one another in a cuddly heap). The moment a human sets foot on the main floor, the birds start calling out their hellos, making sure you’ve noticed that they, too, are awake and hungry for breakfast.
By 8 o’clock, with the birds fed and content, and both kids out the door, I find myself settling in at my desk to begin my day’s work in a house gone quiet once more.
It feels different though, the 8 a.m. silence. Unlike the utter stillness of the world a few short hours earlier, 8 a.m. hums with movement as the world outside intrudes with its determination to seize the day. At 8 a.m., you can hear the washing machine churning away in the corner, the animals outside socializing as they visit our feeders, the kids waiting for the schoolbus, and the adults roaring off to work in their cars.
You can also smell the sausages and maple syrup from breakfast, and the remnants of autumn in the crisp smell of leaves and cold air that wafted in when the door was opened.
The 8 o’clock house may be quiet, but it is anything but still.
Likewise, the 8-hour-old stocking has undergone a radical change. What started as a single element has now become merely part of a larger whole sitting on the arm of the couch in the morning sunlight.
A small hand lies ready to hold the gingerbread cookie tightly in its grasp…
A bearded face is taking shape…
And an apron is slowly aquiring some embroidered elements before it takes its final place somewhere above the boots.
The gingerbread man with all his embroidery took shape so very slowly. By comparison, the past few hours of work on the stocking have been a veritable explosion of activity not unlike that I see most weekday mornings around here. Yet now, with so many pieces cut and waiting for embellishment before being attached to the stocking itself, there’s a new kind of pause taking shape as I sit and embroider and bead and fuss. Progress will feel slow again until these pieces have been fancied up, though like the 8 a.m. house, there’s definitely a feeling of movement in the quiet.