Every morning I am awakened by the glow of sunrise through my bedroom windows. First comes the indescribable colour of the glow. Its not orange. Its not red. Unlike the intense fear instilled by the reds and oranges of the recent bushfire season, the glow is like a call to be. As it intensifies, the branches of the frangipani trees that spread a leafy mantle of shade in the summer and the leaves on the fig trees across the road become silhouetted like Balinese shadow puppets! In summer the westerly wind ensures the windows are closed in defence against the heat.In autumn, windows open, a cool breeze makes me pull the rugs up to my ears to keep me warm!
This morning, I got out of bed realising that I was about to miss the most unique dawn service of my life. Rushing around I grabbed my candle, threw on a jacket, grabbed my camera ready to take the photo I had been planning for days. From the corner of the verandah I was going to capture, for all time, the sight of my candle’s glow against the backdrop of the rising sun’s glow and the awakening greens of the park. That was the plan!
My neighbours were already on their driveway and as I sat down The Rouse was sounded. Beautiful and eerie. Jim next door had his device tuned to the National Dawn Service. I heard the New Zealand Anthem and I sang ( in my squeaky tired morning voice) both verses of the National Anthem. Tears came. The Lone Piper, haunting in its melancholy marked the end of the service. Lone but not alone! I had a sense of being present. Mindfulness!
Waiting for me in my inbox was an email from my older daughter. She is up every morning to greet the dawn! The photo is her homage to the Dawn service on the Driveway. The candle is in one of her favourite possessions and I imagine her thought in using that one was of the young Aussies who spent all that time in Egypt in preparation for the slaughter they faced at Gallipoli. The red on which is rests would have been chosen to represent the sacrifice of thousands of men and women who died and those who live with the memory and injury, mental and physical, of their service. And of course there would be the flag!
In the tradition of generations of her family, she was raised a Catholic. She has spirituality and connection with the sacred that is greater than anything she may have received in her upbringing. It extends far beyond the boundaries of The Institution! She is wonderful.
And while the current affairs programs continue to turn the whole thing into a soppy, sentimental calendar event, bemoaning the fact that the current state of social distancing means we are really missing out on something today, I gained something so unexpected. Not only did I feel connected to my immediate community, I felt connected to and blessed by the gracious gift of the lives of my children and theirs and thankful for it all.
Lest we forget.