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Morning arrives earlier than in days past. I wake in the dark long before daylight, somewhere between midnight and daybreak which suits my disposition. Admittedly, I’m passing through the dark, but heading toward dawn.

When the cloud settles upon you, stay put, the Lord told the Israelites in Numbers, the new Old Testament Book I’ve settled into. Even if it stays for a long time. Wait for the Lord. Whether it was for two days, or a month, or a year, they would remain in camp and not set out until it lifted.

I tried to be still, to listen and wait and trust. That’s where the Israelites received their instructions. But they rebelled, and complained, and wailed and I do too.

And you, my beloved, are here in the cloud with me.

Our love has grown deeper than the roots of an old Oak tree. Strong and steady. You protect me from myself. Yes, you are my Oak, “like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither. Whatever he does prospers.”

You have seen that my faith has been dependent on things I no longer have and how I falter.

You appear at the door in your white shirt, as you stood before me on our wedding day, with concern in your eyes. I was certain our love would extend beyond boundaries of time, beyond my own limitations, beyond memories, and my temporal exigencies.

Love like yours comes only once. It is the purest, childlike yet matured. I had to catch up to you. Within your eyes is wisdom of the ages, like love traveling through the centuries, through you, to reach me.

The sun hits my burdens, cracking the shell, prodding them forth from the miserly dark where the truth of our mortality sits waiting to be kissed by you. Out onto the timeless white sands they spill as love weeps for the beloved until the dry vestige is once again moistened like oil on rust.

You stood there at the door, memory meeting present, as lilting as the gentle sea at dawn’s red sky, and you kept my heart from hardening.

I have known love in the shallow places where passion flees. Yours has stayed to dig into the roots, our very cells nurturing the life of our ancestors within us, bringing you to me so you could hold me through my night when I’d prefer not to wake.

But you wake the child within, and coax her from night into the dawn.

Numbers 9, Psalm 1

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