I watched the sun rise this morning. I could see over the stilled machinery, out of a tiny window, an orange ball of fire rising into the red-tinted smoke of the furnaces starting up. I try to be at work early to get as much done as I can, but the machines hadn't started yet when I arrived. The people began filing in soon after the sun disappeared into the cloud banks, row after row of families looking forward to one more day of thousands standing over metal wheels and blades and levers. The sun may have risen outside, but no light falls inside the factory walls.

~~

I watched the sun rise today, gold-orange glory painting the clouds like lilac velvet and the sky the color of the peaches in the orchard. This is the only time of day that I can sit, still and silent, lost in the peace of nature. Shortly after the sun cleared the horizon, I was gotten up and dressed by a house slave in time to get breakfast before my lessons. It was a sunny day, but only the gray bleakness of winter showed in her eyes and my life.

~~

The day ground on, with the clanging of metal becoming the music for our monotonous dance. Push, pull, tug, watch your fingers, lift, carry, drop, walk, push, pull, tug. The motions go in perfect synchronization, and those who miss a step suffer the consequences. A girl got her hair caught today. The once long, beautiful chestnut curls are now shortened to a chocolate mess; but the dance went on, not stopping until the five o' clock bells that called us out to mass.

~~

The day ground on, the inane babble of my tutors and my mother the music for a boring cotillion of life. Add, subtract, recite, conjugate, stir, entertain, laugh, add, subtract. I went through the motions of being a good housewife who will one day manage a household of her own. They pretend our little world is perfect, but I saw the consequences of what happens when a single step is out of place. A slave girl burned a dish for supper, and she was whipped. But everyone went on with preparations for the circuit rider that will come tonight. The show we put on must continue perfectly.

~~

I ran home, ate quickly, and rushed off to the evening service. I sat down with my family and we sang and prayed and listened to the priests. I asked for a little bit of peace from my family, but I don't know if I was heard. I ask for it every week, but nothing has come yet. One day my prayer will be answered. I walked home afterwards with my mother, father, and brother. We laughed together al the way. Perhaps our joy is our ease, the knowledge that even in a world where fingers are lost for work and the sun rises into fog, we can still find laughter.

~~

We ate a quick supper, then my father, brother, mother and I all climbed into our wagon and rode to the tent meeting. We sat together and the preacher shouted about Jesus and love and salvation. I wondered if God can see the injustice in the world and if He loves us anyway. Coming home afterwards, I looked at the way my father teased my brother, the way my mother looks at him, and I thought that God must not be too angry with us if we can still have love in such a world.