Sometimes you wake up to an exquisite morning.
And why is it exquisite? Because you have an increased understanding and perception of everything you see. You look at everything and analyze it to find its beauty and its wonder. The sunlight striking the leaves, and the way in which the golden color of the sun and the green of the leaf mixes together, for instance, leaves you feeling happy. Or perhaps it is even the cascade of color caused by the mix of books on your bookshelf. This interplay of color and light makes you glad, glad to be human and glad to be alive. In everything there is some kind of beauty, and in that beauty, one sees God.
Just outside my window there is a fire escape. I'm longing to climb outside just so I can sit on the small balcony that affords, and look down at the city below me. To be truly picturesque one would have to adopt the Kiera Knightley pose in Atonement, the folds of her green dress falling to the ground, lapping at the cement, a cigarette held carelessly in her hand. Such a pose would be beautiful simply because it would be so unexpected, a lady standing outside on her fire escape, or perhaps swinging her legs merrily, simply waiting to greet the dawn, the morning, and therefore God. In all things there is beauty. But perhaps there is something about the playful child darting her head out the window that also works for this, or skipping impishly down the street, or otherwise clinging to the joy that is afforded us all through God and His works.
How can one not feel gratitude to God? He creates the morning and the evening, the dark and the light, the beauty inherent in everything. I would love to welcome the Shabbat somewhere green and growing, with the smell of the earth in my nostrils. I think it would be appropriate to sing Lecha Dodi and to go out to the fields to greet the Queen. A queen is a woman of the darkness and its beauty, the sweetly growing things, the hidden things, the true things. Sometimes the measure of something's worth is that it is hidden, and therefore precious.
So let us greet the dawn, and let us be glad to be alive, for in everything there is a piece and a portion of God; in ourselves, where our souls thrive, in His world, which is magnificent in its grandeur, in those around us, who are likewise striving to find Him, and in His creations, wherever it is that we encounter them. It is our privilege and honor to interact with any of these, for whatever period of time is given to us, and to thank God for having granted us that privilege, and for the time that was allotted. Man cannot conceive of anything more beautiful than the sunrise, until he experiences the sunset, and sees with what fire the sun can sink into the horizon, only to be born again the next morning.