Wide Awake at Five AM
It doesn't happen often.
I am not, nor have ever been or will be, a morning person. One of the biggest failures of my life is my failure to become one. But at my age, knowing now about circadian rhythms, I have come to accept it. If I permitted it, I would stay up until 2 a.m. and sleep until around 10 a.m. and live my whole life that way.
I have a retired friend, Terry, who does just that. I love how she, in spite of all the surrounding concerns about it, just lives her life by her own clock. But, I am not yet retired, and, you can’t really weed the garden in the dark.
And when I’m stressed, I don’t sleep, which makes me more stressed, resulting in less sleep. It makes me short-tempered, snappish, and feral. If I say, “I lost sleep over that,” what I mean is that I tossed, turned, brooded, ground my teeth, paced, stomped, cursed, and have developed a deep down resentment over it. If you make me lose sleep, I guarantee I’m upset with you, and I really just want to chew you up and spit you out — and just might.
In my life, I have slept, literally, for days. I have also gone days without sleeping. Neither of these is healthy.
I’m quite serious about my sleep. It is the foundation of my better behavior. During the reopening, after the 2020 quarantine, I endured a six-week period with minimal sleep. After that, if I am diligent and disciplined about anything in my life, it’s my sleep schedule.
I try to be down by 10:30 p.m., asleep by 11:00, and in the process of waking by 7 a.m., up by 8-ish.
This morning, I was wide awake at 5:00 a.m. With nothing to brood about.
It happens. Very rarely, but it happens. And on such occasions, I simply enjoy watching the break of day. But there’s a nostalgia to it for me. A bittersweetness. As the fog lifts to reveal a dewy landscape, I am reminded of other early early mornings in my life when I was brooding and anxious, had been up all night, was lost in life, or woke with the day because I was sleeping in a tent outside.
Daybreak over the ocean, daybreak over the rocky river. Daybreak when I had to work at 5 a.m. an hour away (that didn’t last long), daybreak the morning of my father’s funeral.
This morning, I watched the cat give herself a morning bath underneath my husband’s car in the driveway. I watched the chickens emerge from the hen house, the world around the house slowly expanding and emerging as the fog receded slowly, retreating from the growing sunlight.
And then I realize, I have a few extra hours in the garden this morning before the heat and humidity take over the day. The excessive heat warning starts at 11 a.m. and lasts until after dark.
Better get going.