The First Words of the Day

I walk to the grocery store checkout, put my cough drops down, ask the woman behind the register, “How’s it going?”

And it occurs to me that those were the first words I’d spoken today.

“Well,” she says, “though by the looks of it,” she nods towards my cough drops, “not for you.”

I’d gotten up, showered off yesterday’s sweat and mascara, laced up my sneakers, headed to the grocery store, all without a word.

“I’m giving a workshop later today,” I say, “I like to have these on hand.”

Something feels significant about the day’s first words. If breakfast breaks the fast from evening to morning, the first words break the silence. Like we are uttering ourselves into the world again.

“Got it,” she says.

These words don’t need to be finely-tuned poetry; not another thing we have to achieve and then fall short at. I think we only need to be intentional about the spirit of them. In bed, murmur a prayer for another day of lungs filling with air. Greet ourselves in the bathroom mirror, “YOU again?! What a delight!” Or -

“Knock’em dead today,” the woman behind the cash register says.

And if we miss the mark, if our first words are snapping at family, coffee maker, lost keys, ourselves, we can start again with the second words of the day.

She hands me my receipt. I wish her a good one.

Perhaps the first thing we say to the day is not only a greeting, but a wish for the waking hours. We can’t control the moments ahead, but we can bless them with our intention.

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