Monday, December 20, 2010
LAUGHING BEFORE DAWN
I’m an early riser, and usually I find myself doing lots of laughing before the sun has risen. I try to spend an hour or so doing some quiet, good-natured thinking before starting the duties of the day, and often it arouses more amusement in me than seriousness. During these pre-dawn reflections, I end up doing far more laughing than brooding or fretting. Life seems wonderfully full of nonsense and silliness as I sit quietly with the rising sun. What I’m usually laughing about is simply myself – my high-strung seriousness, my insistence on seeing myself as the center of the universe’s attention, my bizarre obsession with me, me, me. When I’m sitting beside the window looking out at the last of the darkness, it often comes to me how small my little “self” is compared to the endless universe I’m part of. Dwelling in the midst of countless and everlasting oceans of stars, it seems more than slightly ludicrous that I see myself as so important. In the early morning, my crushing classroom worries of yesterday seem no more significant than a single stroke of a breeze on a sleeve. This realization, far from being bad news, is vastly reassuring to me, which is what leads to my sometimes wholehearted laughs. Since I see that I’m not center stage any more, but simply a part of an endless, strong, and smooth-working universe, I feel instant relief, as though I’ve just set down a seriously heavy burden. My universe – our universe – suddenly seems so powerful and peaceful that nothing could ever seriously go wrong, including the infinitesimal part of the universe called “Hamilton the English teacher”. I take a deep breath of comfort and assurance, smile out at the encouraging sky, and let out some serious laughs before breakfast.