Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Good Morning, Very Early


Here's a thing that happens. I woke up this morning at 2:15 with this digestive thing I get time to time. It has to do with tension or dehydration or something else. My doctor doesn't know for sure, neither does my therapist. I don't know either. It just happens and that's that. Knowing why seems less important to me than it once did.

It almost always strikes while I sleep, waking me up. The cure is simple. I get up and walk downstairs. I put a kettle on for tea. I walk around the house some. When the tea is ready, I drink it slowly. Usually, by the end of a big mug of tea, the problem has passed and I'm relatively fine.

By the time I get myself taken care of, an hour or so has passed and I'm fully awake. Tired, sure, but not looking to lie down. My brain is ready to do things. This morning, down in my basement office, I spent the hour it took to drink the tea cleaning my office, throwing out old papers, hanging new pictures, deciding on new projects. Now, my desk is cleared, my shelves are organized, I've filled and emptied my recycling twice.

This has been happening to me off and on for almost a decade. For a while it was happening every few weeks. Now, it has trailed off to maybe once every three or four months. It would seem as though it is receding and even if it isn't, I have a solution to the problem when it occurs. Besides, getting up at quarter past two in the morning isn't the worst of situations. I cleaned my office, I typed up four old poems, and here I am listening to the BBC and typing my 750 words. All of that in the silent darkness of a morning while my family sleeps deeply upstairs.

As a kid I used to get up and deliver the morning newspaper. It was a job I didn't like much, but I loved the feeling afterward when I returned home and no one else was awake yet. I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes, not to sleep but to simply be still and quiet with myself.

In college, more often than not, I woke early, carried the coffee maker and my bag out of the suite and into a study lounge. There I brewed a full pot of the stuff, dug into my studies, and, when he came around, said hello to the man who kept our hallway clean. Mostly, I enjoyed being up before the sun rose and the world was quiet.

I write for a lot of the same reasons that I enjoy getting up early. The quiet simplicity of being alone with myself (and maybe the BBC or NPR announcer), of hearing what thoughts I have when there is no audience to impress. When I trust myself to float on the words in the darkness, the sun slowly rises and the world becomes clear and bright to me.

That sounds like hooey, but that's just because it's a tough concept to talk about and I'm mostly talking to myself.

My physical discomfort has passed and my mental discomfort is eased by the solitude. The words come one by one and I follow them down the screen wondering what they will say. Like my physical condition, I don't know what causes the idea or exactly where it comes from, but I know what to do with it and about how long it will take to run its course. I know that this solitude is good for me and I welcome it.

I doubt I'll ever knock down the cause of this problem that wakes me every so often and I would bet that there will be a morning when my big mug of tea doesn't quite get me through. At that point, I'll have to make some changes. For now, things are good, including the fact that I'm up so early writing, listening to the news, watching for the sun to rise. Later today I will do whatever it is that I need to do later today. For now, all I have is to keep going with my thoughts, to breathe in and out, and to accept what is as I move toward what will be.

I'm out of tea and ready to switch to coffee. I've just about reached my 750 words for today and my body is calm and recovered. It's still very early. I've got all the time in the world. I'll go make coffee, come back down here to my clean office, and write on and on.

Good morning.