What one thing you do every day, you could do with 100% focus?

What about making your bed?!
The poem “Chorus of Cells,” by Peggy Freydberg written at the age of 106, shares the most focused lovely way to make one’s bed.

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CHORUS OF CELLS by Peggy Freydberg

Every morning, even being very old, (or perhaps because of it), I like to make my bed.

In fact, the starting of each day unhelplessly, is the biggest thing I ever do.

I smooth away the dreams disclosed by tangled sheets,
I smack the dented pillow’s revelations to oblivion, I finish with the pattern of the spread exactly centered.

The night is won.

And now the day can open.

All this I like to do, mastering the making of my bed with hands that trust beginnings. All this I need to do, directed by the silent message of the luxury of my breathing.

And every night, I like to fold the covers back, and get in bed, and live the dark, wise poetry of the night’s dreaming,
dreading the extend of its improbabilities,
but surrendering to the truth it knows and I do not; even though its technicolor cruelties,
or the music of its myths,  feels like someone else’s experience,  not mine.

I know that I could no more cease to want to make my bed each morning, and fold the covers back at night,
than I could cease to want to put one foot before the other.

Being very old and so because of it,  all this I am compelled to do, day after day, night after night,
directed by the silent message of the constancy of my breathing,
that bears the news I am alive.

Nancy Slonim Aronie is the author of Writing from the Heart (Hyperion/Little Brown) and the founder of the Chilmark Writing Workshop on Martha’s Vineyard. She is a commentator for NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

“Chorus of Cells,” reprinted with permission from Poems from the Pond: 107 Years of Words and Wisdom; The Writings of Peggy Freydberg,


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