Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Rise and Shine

"What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn!"
-Logan Pearsall Smith

Unless you are motivated to get up early, it is next to impossible to pull off the task after years of sleeping late. You must be truly excited by the prospect of a fresh and silent morning unsullied yet by traffic or slamming doors.
I am not a morning person. My Spouse believes, however, that there is no such thing, and that we can be whatever we choose. Spouse, clearly then, is an early riser.
There are mornings, beautiful prologues to days when I open my eyes and cannot imagine staying in bed another moment: the sunlight might be pouring in; I might be anticipating a particularly busy or inventive day; whatever the reason, it happens that occasionally I am highly alert upon waking.
More often than not, woefully, I have to practically pry my eyelids open with a teaspoon before I can proceed with my day. My limbs feel weighty, the pressure in my head is too much and all I want is to go back to sleep. In fact I could do just that while standing in the kitchen trying vaguely to remember where we store the milk. It reminds me of wading through mud: unbearably slow and too much trouble.
By the time I have prepared said breakfast, Spouse has usually sent an e-mail, scanned several pages and embarked on a brand new project and, as I deliver the bowl of steaming oatmeal, is quietly musing about lunch.
As I said, though, one has to want the early mornings. One has to see that they are, in fact, the best time of the day as long as one's mind is not shrouded in a cloak of cumbersome fog.
How remarkable- it is invigorating to look at a clock and see that, despite a good deal of work being done, 9 am has not come around yet. An early morning feels serene, full of possibilities and all yours.
Spouse likes to wake at 5 am and with the best of intentions, to be out of bed at quarter past. These days in December that means a sliver of moon might still be visible. I long to be able to appreciate the mornings more often. To achieve this one must sleep well so that when 5 am approaches, it seems like time to get up.

I suggest some simple methods such as:
-Going to bed before 10 pm and following the same routine each night.
-Not using the computer after 8:30 or at least an hour before bed.
-Reading until sleep hits like a wave. Spouse and I share our copy of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, a novel I have mentioned time and again and of which we are both very fond. It is a soothing and gentle lull of a read and very charming.
-In the evenings my Spouse likes Horlick's, a warm, milky drink. Were I a milky-drink aficionado no doubt I would enjoy it also but nothing comes between me and my black tea sent via a care-package from Mater.

Before this week, before my Spouse became ill I had recently begun going to the same gym that Spouse had been attending for months. Spouse goes for a workout in the mornings. Of course that meant we had to rise earlier so that we could be back in time for Spouse to go to work.
We began this procedure just as the cold spell hit our area and so over the course of one morning I went from remaining warm and sleepy when Spouse drove to the gym, to accompanying Spouse in the freezing darkness with nothing but pain to look forward to for the next hour.
Mercifully it turned out to be better than I had expected: once I became accustomed to the machines and the art of numbing my brain to all feeling, I began to feel quite good about getting exercise and felt stronger by the second.
Sadly our routine was short-lived but we will be able to return with regularity in the coming weeks as long as Spouse continues to improve.

At 5 am, the roads look vastly different; so does the world. At that hour we can imagine we own the roads, so few are the souls travelling on it.
Tick, tock: beds are cosy but life is short. I say, take back the mornings and feel a little more productive.

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