Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
- Mary Oliver, Why I Wake Early
These days, my mornings begin in darkness. My alarm trills a sharp note and I throw a wild arm to the bedside table to silence it before Nate wakes. I take a deep breath and roll out of bed, reaching blindly for my tights, headlamp, jacket, running shoes. Five minutes later, I'm breathing smoky puffs into the cold air. I step into the darkness and start to run, following my bobbing light down the pot-holed road.
For the first half an hour, I trot through the pitch black, surrounded on both sides by thick forest, with a scattering of stars just visible above my narrow strip of road. But, as I reach Century Farm Road, the trees fall away to fields and I can see the first streaks of light at the edges of the sky. Out here, morning smells of frost, apples, and fallen leaves. Out here, morning feels like new love.
I make it home just as the sun starts to shine through the trees. I stretch for a minute on the porch and look out across the backyard. All I see is golden light.
When I was in high school, my brother would tease me that my idea of a good time was eating oatmeal. This is quite possibly the most true (and most timeless) statement he's ever made on my behalf. These days, however, I prefer my oats mixed with nuts, seeds, and coconut, all rolled in maple syrup and roasted into a crunchy, vanilla-scented granola. A run at the crack of dawn and granola - what, YOU don't think that's a party?
3 cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups walnuts (or any nut of your choice – almonds or hazelnuts are some of my favorites)
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
2 Tbls. chia seeds
2 Tbls. flax seeds
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ - ¾ cups maple syrup (depending on your preference for sweetness)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine oats, nuts, coconut, seeds, and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the vanilla and maple syrup and stir well. Transfer the mixture to a large cookie sheet and bake for roughly 20 minutes, or until the granola is deep brown and fragrant.