On the Bridge of Dawn

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
May/June 2004

By Megan M. Gannett, Illustrated by Rosemary Engelfried

Every year spring rushes in with a parade of colors, a symphony of sounds and a thrill of smells. Much as I enjoy the pearly sheen and biting chill of winter, it is the morning when I first wake to hear the steady dripping of melting snow, and breathe that moist, fresh smell of thawing earth that pumps wonder through me every year.

To me, spring brings optimism, cheer and love of life swirling and hovering around every corner of nature I turn. It propels me out of bed each morning, and sends me seeking my hopes and dreams much more avidly than before. And best of all, spring promises that long, lazy summer days are ahead of me, full of doing whatever I want to do. In summer there are no deadlines or schedules prying into my consciousness.

But spring is the time of year when living grasps me by the elbows and swings me up into paradise, sparkling with such newness that it contains something summer will never have.

Today I awake to the lively chirping of birds—robins, chickadees, blue jays; I don’t even mind the squawk of a magpie if it, too, is celebrating spring. It has been spring for some time now—it is mid-April—but I haven’t yet gotten used to all the surprises and delights, for they come every day.

I sit up out of bed, push off the covers, and leap to my feet, flinging open the curtains. It must be very early, the light is just creeping sleepily up from behind the trees and rooftops. It won’t be long now before this mix of pastel pinks, oranges and purples shifts into fiery reds and yellows and the full, bright sun emerges, showering the world with the brilliance it has been yearning for.

on the bridge of dawn sunrise beyond the trees

It must be very early, the light is just creeping sleepily up from behind the trees and rooftops

Brimming with excitement, I pull myself away from the window, a painted picture of delight, and hurriedly dress in my casual summer wear. No jackets and sweatpants will I have; I want to feel the crisp morning air create goosebumps on my legs and arms. To immerse myself in spring.

Remembering that I should be quiet, I tiptoe down the stairs and through the house, wondering how my family can resist the wonder April holds. Then, breathing deeply, I steal outside.

A glorious sensation greets me as I enter the magical world of my yard at dawn. I run softly over the grass, a soggy sponge saturating itself with life, and, glancing down, admire the tender spikes beginning to appear on the lawn, pushing up through the dead brown grass of last year. I am heading for my tree, the towering spruce in the corner of my yard. It is my gateway to the sky, from which I can stare down at the houses and people and feel free, as the wind plays with my hair and rocks the tree from side to side.

Eagerly, I clamber up onto the fence—the lowest branch is far out of reach when I stand on the ground. Then, using all my strength, I grab onto the two branches and scramble clumsily up—and here I am, in the tree. After a moment of inhaling the fresh air mingled with the sappy smell of wood, I continue, moving quickly through the maze of firm, sturdy limbs I know so well that I could do it with my eyes closed.

But now is the time for looking about me, using all my senses to soak in the beauty. Perched high on a branch I gaze dreamily through a window gracefully fringed with fingers of dark green needles. The tree seems to be holding me in a secure, steady grasp, staunchly supporting me at this height. Many times during the year I come here in need of assurance, and this tall, stately tree provides me with everything I need. Even in the midst of this urban neighborhood, my tree stands out over the house relentlessly.

Sometimes I think I’d like to be a tree, but in the heart of the forest, providing homes to an abundance of animals and nurturing saplings in my rich, rotting, mossy wood when the time comes to fall. I yearn to be stationary, full of peace and wisdom, not bustling about in a rush like many people today, who don’t seem to have time to stop and simply stare as they contemplate life.

I know that soon the rest of the world will wake up, and everyone will hurry off to school or work to grind through another busy day. Heedless of that part of life just for living, they’ll think of nothing but earning money or good grades, that they assume will dramatically improve their diligent lives.

But until then, I will sit here in my tree, thinking of nothing but the buds on the trees and this golden moment of dawn. I will hold that moment like a priceless treasure, savoring it to its fullest. Deep down, I know that when the sun peeps just above the horizon, and nothing is awake yet but me and the birds, when everything lies tranquil and untouched, that is all that matters.

And this wise old tree knows too.

on the bridge of dawn megan m gannett

Megan M. Gannett, 13
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

on the bridge of dawn rosemary engelfried

Rosemary Engelfried, 13
Hillsboro, Oregon

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