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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: Daybreak
By Jan Kamp


Faint tinges of pink gradually underlined dark, mottled streaks above the horizon. Like a kaleidoscope in slow motion the colors shifted and intensified, casting shadows into the depths of the clouds and bouncing into the small empty spaces of sky.

Ahh…there it is! The rosy-orange arch began to peek over the horizon silhouetting a barn on the far hillside. Creeping higher, its blazing glory expanded the contrasting scene to include the tattered windsock and ramshackle hangars of the little country airport across the road, and then the spreading maple tree with the bird feeder hanging from the lowest branch.

It was Marnie’s favorite time of day because, to her, sunrise emphasized the majesty of God and the beauty of His creation and nearly left her breathless. She sat by the east-facing picture window of her dining room watching the scene unfold, as phrases from the Psalms wafted through her mind and mingled with personal phrases of praise and thanksgiving.

She had missed this the last few days as storm clouds hid the sun, and late fall rains relentlessly pelted the earth. But the sun is always there, even when you can’t see it, right? Marnie smiled and nodded. The wisdom of her years had taught her that although the Lord is always close during the storms of life, often we don’t fully see and understand His faithfulness until later, just as the storm clouds intensify the magnificent beauty of a morning like this.

“Good morning, Miz Marnie,” a cheerful but pesky voice interrupted her thoughts as a clattering sounded behind her. How many times had she told little Mark he couldn’t bring his wagon into the house?

“It’s a beautiful day, today, isn’t it!” said Pesky Voice. “Here’s your morning pills.”

Wordlessly, Marnie plucked a pill from the cup and fumbled it into her mouth. She felt the straw touch her lips and impatiently sucked the water into her mouth.

“That’s my girl, one at a time with a little sip of water.”

Humph! Now where was I? Oh, yes; thank you Father for the beauty You bring to life, for Your provision and care, for strength to do all I have to do. Let’s see, now. Today I must write a letter to Elizabeth, wrap and mail baby John’s birthday gift, and I should stop by the drugstore and pick up Dad’s arthritis medicine. I’ll ask Howard if he has everything he needs to fix the kitchen sink, too; maybe he’d like to go along.

“OK, don’t go away,” Pesky Voice chuckled; I’ll be right back with breakfast.”

Honestly, how can I get my thoughts straight if that person keeps interrupting me! I’d better make a list, or I’ll forget half what I have to do. Marnie frowned a little and turned her head from side to side in irritation as she felt something being slipped in front of her neck and someone fussing around the back as if tying on a bib.

Breakfast. Oh, yes. I’ll just fix some quick oatmeal this morning, and then I can get started. But I want to sit here a little longer and enjoy this beautiful sunny morning.

The sun was now well above the horizon, and the black silhouettes had turned into familiar images in full color. Two snowbirds pecked their way along the trough of the feeder scattering seeds to a Cardinal on the ground. With a happy bark, Goldie ran out the driveway to greet Howard as he strolled along the grass runway on the way home from his morning walk. She smiled and waved to him as she heard Dad’s voice in the distance, probably at the top of the stairs, calling, “It’s gonna be a great day, Laura. My arthritis isn’t hurting me a bit!”

Laura? Her mother, Laura? But Mom had died even before Elizabeth was born, never having the opportunity to hold her first granddaughter. But there she was with Dad, walking alongside Howard. So, Dad wasn’t upstairs after all, he was out there, too. And all three of them were waving to her.

Marnie’s confusion gave way to the most peaceful state of mind she’d ever known. She smiled to herself and tuned out Pesky Voice as the day grew brighter and brighter until it totally enveloped her lighting her face with a serene radiance.

“Breakfast time. Do you see those two squirrels chasing each other up the tree in the courtyard, Miz Marnie?"

"Miz Marnie?"

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Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 02/13/06
If Ms. Marnie is confused (and she was)...no wonder I am confused! I am stymied as to what is happening here. Guess I'm dense or just not getting it...Perhaps I'll try again, as there are some beautiful scenes written in this piece.
Edy T Johnson 02/13/06
The writer opens with a beautiful word-picture, but doesn't overdo it (which loses the reader), interjecting evidence of a real person at just the right point to keep things moving. I see "Daybreak" as either the experience of a dying woman slipping into eternity, or someone in the twilight between wakefulness and dreamland.
Jan Ackerson 02/15/06
You did a masterful job of alternating between Marnie's inner reality, and the "real" reality of her nursing home. Wow.
Jan Ackerson 03/29/06
Hi, Jan--I've chosen this article to feature on the Front Page Showcase for the week of April 24th. Watch for it on FaithWriters home page. I loved it when I first read it, and I like it even better now!
Cyndi Brandon04/24/06
Excellent choice for the Front Page Showcase. Beautifully written! This article has instilled hope in me that even though we may seem to 'lose our mind' to others, God still speaks to us as though sanity is our middle name. Thanks, Jan, for sharing these thoughts with us.
Edy T Johnson 04/24/06
Jan! Congratulations! I caught your byline on page one, and recognized one of "my favorites." I'm so glad that even more people will get to read your work.