birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

What Shall We Do Today?

I am the queen of routine. But I am just one member of the royal family of routine. In our small household fiefdom, routine reigns supreme. Our king and stern taskmaster always rises first, and the cat (Who really may be the Emperor of Routine, because he is the one who sets the machine in motion) is fed and the espresso machine is on and he's deep in his email by the time my feet hit the floor, precisely 15 minutes after. I roll out of bed and into my boots and am half way around the block by the time our young princeling is out of bed and making his way to his cheerios.

With the spontaneity of youth, he is the one to sometimes break the strict structures, the strictures, of our morning and reach instead for garepenuts and yogurt, or, most wildly of all, a bagel and cream cheese. But, still, 6:15 rolls around, and while I am making the lunches (1,2 or 3 today? This is a moment of taut uncertainty), he's headed for his toothbrush and sneakers, routinely muttering about possible sports scores as he goes.

I finish the lunches and reach for my own breakfast and the radio, on it's time, clicks off at 6:30, because that's the way we do. By 6:40, me and my double shot and my time are parked in the comfy chair overlooking the park while the household settles into routine practice. The males practice classical guitar and quarreling over the best way to progress. I practice patience and meditation, for exactly 14 minutes because I read once that research indicated that was the minimum amount of time needed to start realizing the benefits of meditation, so I set up my timer and stuck to it. After all, it's good to have a routine, right? The cat practices the best way to locate himself on my lap. My timer ends and my work clothes come on, and the strains of guitar fade, and there's one last routine of finding the lost gloves and mittens and misplaced homework, and three of us are out the door, although 7th grade is a bit old to be walked to school. But it's the six minute walk that permits real conversation, the routine reminder of love and deep breaths after parting, before the day begins.

Things forgotten

Knowing Why