The Strangeness of Ritual

Rituals can be strange things.  For those of us who drift through our days on autopilot, they are merely the segments that divide the day.  And they mark the passing of the hours in a way that can be both comforting and depressing.  For me, it begins with a jarring alarm buzz in the wee hours, quickly followed by the dizzying rush to get ready, and then the 5:00 a.m. sign-in at front desk.  For others, it starts with a bracing cup of coffee taken like a lifeline while they're still bleary-eyed and fuzzy-minded, and is followed by a long, torturous commute.

During the day, there are other markers too. The receptionist's PA-system announcement that the donut/sandwich/pastry/cheesecake or whoever guy is in the car park signals that I've reached another milestone - the day's halfway point.  Now lunch is just around the corner, and there are only four more hours to go here.  When I return from lunch - just one hour before the end of my shift - I'm in the homestretch phase, silently soothing myself that it's just a matter of minutes now.  Each ritual is like a raft, giving me something to hold on to as I stumble through the days with my thoughts only on making it to the end.

But, dear mornings, how I long to savour you slowly!  To revel in the gentle creep of warm, yellow arms around my body as the sun announces another day.  How I long to start each day leisurely, with the spicy, rich warmth of a mug of hot chocolate, the sizzle of sausages and eggs on the stove, and the lulling murmur of a tv in the background.  How I crave waking up with the peace of knowing that I'm mistress of all my hours; that there's no mask to wear, no armour to don against the outside world; that the Muse will visit some time during the day and my only task is to wait patiently for her so that another creative project can take flight.