I may be the only person I know who gets up every morning at 4 a.m. without immediately having to milk something (either cows or one’s self, depending on whether one’s a dairyman or a mother with a newborn in the house).

This is, actually, my favorite time of the day. If nothing else, the hours between 4 and dawn are the only ones during which it’s quiet enough around this old joint to listen attentively to serious music.  This is a portrait of my “view” every morning, while I sit, have my coffee, and wonder when my comparatively lazy and determinedly pagan dogs will choose to get up.  The oddness of the composition results from its being the view I have as I sit on the kitchen steps, looking across the courtyard at the east window of the old smokehouse, which in turn gives a view onto the wing’s west window.  All in all, it’s a bit hall-of-mirrors-ish, which is probably appropriate.

“Lauds” is, of course, the morning office….just the sort of thing I can pay attention to, since I don’t, for various reasons, have to pack kids off to school or fix my hair so that I can drive to work each day.


Pergráta mundo núntiat
auróra solis spícula,
res et colóre véstiens
iam cuncta dat nitéscere.
Qui sol per ævum prǽnites,
o Christe, nobis vívidus,
ad te canéntes vértimur,

te gestiéntes pérfrui.

Tu Patris es sciéntia
Verbúmque per quod ómnia
miro refúlgent órdine

mentésque nostras áttrahunt.

Da lucis ut nos fílii
sic ambulémus ímpigri,
ut Patris usque grátiam

mores et actus éxprimant.

Sincéra præst a ut prófluant
ex ore nostro iúgiter,
et veritátis dúlcibus

ut excitémur gáudiis.

Sit, Christe, rex piíssime,
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna sǽcula.