Maria drifts awake with the dawn chorus, not sure if she really slept at all last night. Her memories of the night seem so complete, she is convinced she heard the church bells chime every hour. She seems to sleep less and less these days. She wonders idly whether this is just what old age does to you: you spend more and more time awake until that final, divine sleep, from which only Christ can wake you.
Maria carefully sits up and puts on her glasses. The pale early morning light only barely colours the room. The chair with her clothes draped over its back, the plain wooden frame of the mirror, the tall thin vase on the dresser, the wardrobe, one door ajar, all seem to hold their breath, listening to the birds. The stillness, the grey tones – she looks around her bedroom as if it is a painting by a Dutch master.
“Thank you,” she whispers to God, before reaching for her rosary. “Thank you for another day.”