I wake Matthew and Jonah up early on this cool Autumn morning. The sun is just beginning to show streaks of pinks and Venus fades into the daylight.
They like school so it is easy to wake them up. They still have that wonderful morning smell of children fresh after a good night's rest.
Our breakfast table is cozy in the kitchen. They feed the cat and the dog (not mine!) while I make eggs from my friend's chickens who live on a nearby farm. I slice peaches from my neighbor's tree and we sit down to have breakfast. We are usually joined by a few neighbor kids as they stop by to get the boys.
They bring chairs into the crowded kitchen as I begin the morning poetry. When I was a child my grandmother always read the Bible to us in the morning. Now I read poetry to the boys...Burns, Dickinson, Frost, Poe...to name a few.
Today I pull out Carl Sandburg and turn to his poems on America. I tell the boys that today all Americans will take a moment of silence at 8:46 to remember those fallen and those who remain our heroes on 9/11.
They listen quietly and take it all in. They are children. They do not know of terror or death. But I want them to think about our freedom and our responsibility as Americans to be strong and brave, whatever it takes.
Matthew says, "I don't know any of the people who died."
I replied, "I don't either, but I still remember them."
In a few minutes the conversation shifts to school, activities, football...the beautiful day.
They kiss me good bye and they are off on their bikes.
I tidy up and get ready for school, tucking the Sandburg book into my satchel as I too hop on my bike for school.
I took the photo early this morning out in my garden. A friend of mine bought me the sign HOPE, and it rests calmly on my old maple tree.
HOPE is a good word for today.