Day 31: Dust

The whirring of the sound machine beckons me into my girls’ room. Their beds have already been abandoned, in favor of climbing up next to my husband or I as we sip coffee and read or journal.

“It’s bright, Momma,” is Irene’s way of announcing a new day has begun and she is ready to face it head on. 

I switch off the sound machine and raise the paper black out curtains — letting in the natural light is always the first order of business each day. Well, coffee and then opening all the blinds. It is bright — in Florida, it almost always is. The girls’ room, facing East and overlooks a large pond, has a lovely view of the sunrise each morning. It also is the best lit room throughout the day.

Later, amidst one of the approximately 200,000 times I will enter and exit their room that day, I will notice a single speck of dust floating to the ground, the light reflecting off of it and catching my attention. At first I think it’s a sugar fly and I will instinctively pause to snatch it out of the air. 

Instead, I watch the tiny speck float a fraction of a moment more and think how lovely it is to have light so vibrant that even a carpet fiber is dazzling. 

Usually when we think of dust, we think of atrophy, deterioration, death. Maybe another purpose of the dust is contrast. When we notice dust, we notice what it obscures, too. When I wipe the dust from the family photo, I’m noticing anew the bright smile of my baby. Dust gathered on the keyboard or around a book stack tells a story that suggests I have been choosing to rest in other ways and begs the question: has that been what’s best for me? Dust can reveal what we’ve neglected, forgotten, or what’s missing.

And sometimes, it can draw our attention to the light.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on

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