Sunrise (Or, Mornings Make Me Hungry - A Live Stream of Conscious)
The fingers of my left hand are at that level of freezing, just before frostbite, where they're not quite numb so I can still feel the pain of the cold first-Saturday-of-fall air. I'm left handed, so it's a choice between waking up this early just to forget all the details later, or actually writing them down.
You always think you'll remember the beauty of a thing. Sometimes you do remember that the thing was beautiful, but the sharpness of the details inevitably seem to blur. That's why we live life through our iPhones, and why I'm living this morning through my favorite pen.
I'm not a skilled observer, but I'm totally going to really try today. So, I look up, with sandbags in my eyes mixed with day-old mascara, and a lot of snot in my nose. I hear trees creaking as they stretch and wake up. I can hear something loud and way too awake for this time of day flopping every few seconds in the water. I hope it's a fish, because otherwise I'm moving to Arizona. I see the waning moon in the dark part of the sky above the island - so white against the indigo - and find I'm breathing deeply. I sigh, and say out loud, "I'm freaking starving."
I'm up at this hour - this ungodly hour - at my family's lake house in Upstate New York. My family has been going to our lake for almost 100 years (-ish. Don't fact check that). This place is just a part of me. Every slimy rock, every tap of the boats against the wooden dock, and every weird smell of all the green things. I love being alone here....but only because I've never actually been alone here, and my love of solitude is just a fantasy. This is the quietest I've ever seen this lake. The first weekend of fall is freezing, as it turns out, and so quiet that you think you've gone deaf. It's really disconcerting to realize that the loudest sound you hear is the blood rushing in your ears.
At about 3:45am, after I was awoken by the drunk mountain lion that was climbing in the walls, and by the chainsaw massacre murderey guy clearly lurking under my bed, I started singing "Jesus Loves Me". That's when I texted a Hail Mary to my friend Kate in Spain. God bless you, 6 hour time difference. Kate (I could have kissed her), asked if I wanted to FaceTime since she was in between fabulous Spanish activities. Si, mi amiga. Very, very si.
She stayed on the phone with me until there was a slight greying of the sky with the light of the bless'ed morning. I told Kate that I had had to pee for hours, but thought I would be murdered if I put my feet on the floor, to which she said, "Yeah, you probably will be."
See if I bring you peanut butter now, jerk.
And that's why I'm here writing with frozen fingers, morning post-nasal drip, and all this hair in every direction, sitting on the dock in a hoodie and yoga pants (affectionately known as The Uniform) waiting for the sun to rise. I'm less likely to be chainsawed outside, I guess.
While the sun is rising in the sky (presumably, I hope), I feel an aliveness rising in me. The birds and fish and fog and trees and the chainsaw guy all wait with me like kids waiting for the mall Santa to get back from break.
"This time," we all think, giddily together, "this time I'm going to do it right. This is the day everything changes. There's so much possibility today! Maybe there's too much possibility. What if I don't do all the things that I should today?"
The sun has broken above the trees now. There's a moment of silence, just one moment, where the fish stop jumping, the birds stop flirting, that squirrel takes a Valium, and I stop breathing like a Neanderthal through my mouth. And we just look.
God it's bright.
It's easy to forget, when you're in the cold dark, how warm and blinding a little bit of sunlight is.
I waited so long for this light, and it seems that my little nature friends who waited in the dark with me all move on with their mornings. They're all busy doing things, and I'm just sitting, wondering how it's possible that I'm left here not knowing what to do now. The euphoria of the anticipation is gone, and I'm left with a feeling that the clock is ticking - that I'm being wasteful.
Its not a great sensation, and has me feeling slightly gassy.
The sun is so brilliant off the water, that I squint as I write. I'm almost annoyed - like the sun is doing it on purpose to get my attention. My niece does the same thing, but cuter. The moment I look away, she gets closer to my face, sometimes grabbing my cheeks in her chubby toddler hands, looks me right in the eye and says, "Look at me." Like with my niece, I look up at the sun and say, "Ok, show me." And she does. She shows me how she dances. She shows me how many things she can touch. She shows me how she can make shadows.
My anxiety that I can't make this day my best day ever, both cripples me and make the minutes rush by.
I sit back and listen. I hear two fishermen talking. One says that they know a woman who opened a fabric store in town. They pause for a long time. Casting and reeling. The other man says that he likes his new fishing line. Another long pause. I eventually look up, thinking they've moved away, that's how long they're quiet. They're now directly in front of me, completely content in not speaking to each other. It's beautiful, and makes me realize how I'll never understand men.
I close my eyes with my face toward the sun. This is my perfect morning weather now. The sun is so warm, but the air is just a degree warmer than crisp. Gone for the season are the gnats and flies but, a few honey bees and crickets linger. I'm so tired, I forget to be anxious for a few short minutes. A passing cloud reminds me that it is fall now, after all, and the smell of the dank, damp earth could easily be mistaken for spring. I guess that smell is just the ground yawning, stretching, getting ready for change.
Maybe I'll make soup for dinner. I wish there was soup for breakfast. I guess that's oatmeal.
The last bit of fog on the water finally gives up the ghost when it figures out the sun is actually sticking around. Fog always fascinates me. I love the way it sounds, or rather, doesn't. Its muteness is comforting to me in the same way big tree canopies are. I love the way the air feels thicker. It's constantly moving, and the feel of it as it brushes against me always seemed a little sensual. The fog becomes bewitched in the sunlight, stretching fingers up to touch the rays, dissipating into the air the more it reaches. The way fog dances freaks me out, and I wrap the blanket I stole off of someone else's bed tighter around me.
I'm starving now. Starving and withering away to nothing. My kingdom for a ginger-apricot scone. I wonder if DeFazio's has breakfast pizza. We have 78 family sized bags of Doritos in the house, inexplicably. But not one breakfast item. I'm going to write a strongly worded letter to this family.
I should be writing. Well, ok fine, I am actually writing now, but I mean something productive. I have the whole day now that I'm awake and haven't been put into a wood chipper. The world is my damn oyster.
I need breakfast before they find me here on the dock like something out of a Mayan ruin.
What can I do today? I'm here in this amazing place, and I have all of this time for just me. I should go for a hike. Or kayaking. I love kayaking. I should explore a new town. This place is straight lousy with small New Englandy towns. I should shop in a little book store and get something that opens my mind. I should go for a run. I should stop laughing out loud that I actually just wrote that down. (#lololol) I should do laundry. And I definitely should take back the milk bottles that have been sitting in the back seat of my car ruining my life because I keep forgetting them.
I close my eyes again. I'm kind of overwhelmed with my "shoulds". I actually don't need to do a thing today. That's sort of new. Maybe I should not do a thing, and see what happens. I've had many days where I've done nothing when I actually had things to do, but I've never done nothing when I had nothing to do. Humph.
What do I want?
I want to read the book that made me laugh out loud by myself yesterday. I want to read it and laugh out loud by myself today. I want to lay in this warm sun and read. I also want to write letters to my friends. I want to get ice cream before noon. I want to see if my sister wants to take my niece apple picking this afternoon. I want to write another blog for Elephant Journal, because I have stuff to say. I want to take a nap on the dock and hear all the sounds I love as I fall asleep.
I'm going to take my day to do my wants. My shoulds will be there when I'm done.
I stand up, full of "piss and vinegar", as my grandfather would say, un-cocoon myself before I fall in the lake...and announce to the fog and the fish and the birds and the trees and the rocks and the boats and the chainsaw massacre guy, "I'm freaking hungry. I'm getting a bagel at the Lake Store."