My favorite ritual is opening windows to let in the morning each day.
The cats usually follow me around the house and jump onto the sill of each newly opened window to get a sniff of a bird or squirrel, as I pull back curtains and adjust blinds. They are part of the ritual, too.
Our windows are old, the sash cords mostly broken. So I need to prop them open. Each window has its own dedicated propping object near at hand.
A picture frame hiding behind the curtain holds open one of the bedroom windows. A hairbrush stood on end props another one.
Kitchen windows: Balsamic vinegar bottle and 2 smallish pieces of scrap lumber.
Altar room window: Teak incense holder from India, inlaid with stars and moons.
Dining room window: 2x4.
Living room window: Air conditioner.
Porch window: Giant metal clothes hanger from the dry cleaner.
I gauge what the day will be like as I open windows and read the air, breathing in a rush of possibilities made new every morning by dreams and dawn.
This particular morning, the air was cooler and drier, breezing in from the north and east, mild as milk punch. And after many days of creaky, around-the-clock laboring, our old window air conditioner is silent, its steel skin cool as early-morning sheets.
Late August sounds like this.
Cicadas buzz in cascades, louder then softer...one chorus rises to a Martian army crescendo as another drops into silence, over and over like waves lapping the shore.
The fan hums quietly.
The kitten flips and squirms and hugs her cloth mouse, bumping the legs of the desk chair where I sit.
A car with a big engine cruises by outside and I don't look away from my screen but I see it in my mind: a silvery-blue 1973 Chevrolet Caprice convertible. An 8-cylinder engine and an exhaust pipe with at least one rust hole. Its windows are rolled down, and the driver's heading home early because it is Friday, and the start to a holiday weekend, and the sun is shining and it is not too hot; only hot enough for a late summer holiday weekend.
Maybe, just maybe, the radio was not switched on because this song, with its perfect lyrics, was playing in his head, as it is in mine.
It's like you're standing in the window
of a house nobody lives in
and I'm sitting in a car across the way
Let's just say, it's an early model Chevrolet
Let's just say, it's a warm and windy day
You go and pack your sorrow
The trash man comes tomorrow
Leave it at the curb
and we'll just roll away.