January 13, 2017
I’m not sure if its an aging thing or perhaps there is this weird switch that flips in your body that changes your sleep patterns to “farm mode” but early wake ups are becoming more and more of my life. Early to bed mode is kicking in as well but I attribute that to fatigue from increased manual labor on the farm, not and I repeat, not getting older. I’m starting to love waking up before the first ray of light crests the ridge that pierces the darkness like a glistening sword. Some mornings there is a thin layer of frost that appears to have just kissed the grass giving it that silvery futurist look with just the right glimmer of shading from the moon. Other times total darkness awaits me with Mother Nature not yet ready to give me an early preview. There is a peacefulness before sunrise but also an anticipation of things yet to come. It reminds of sitting in a dark theater just waiting for the curtain to rise and the wonders that are bound to dazzle me on that stage.
Actually a play is exactly what sunrise reminds me of. You can hear the first chirps of the waking birds before any light as if they are the orchestra tuning up their instruments before the first note of the score. A rooster without a clock crows too early but I find many of them are terrible at telling time. I imagine he is some diva actor complaining about the fit of his costume. The slightest breeze passes over as if nature is taking one last breathe before the footlights come up and then silence. An unspoken voice announces the show is about to begin. The bird orchestra cues and a warm glow, not sunlight, but like a gentle hum of an amp; the magic starts. The artist starts to paint the sky. Muted at first, these colors become more brilliant as he becomes more confident with his brush. A slight gasp escapes my body as the show begins to unfold and the first chill of excitement rattles through to my toes. The mountain top ridge begins to glow as if a newly light fire burns behind its facade. And then it happens. The curtain lifts and the first rays of light break the seemingly empty darkness. Some mornings the light charges over the ridge like a wild stallion but other days it gracefully dances across the sky like the tiniest ballet performers. The light reaches the tops of the trees illuminating their feathery features. Cue the rabbit, and he happily hops across the stage. The moonflower shakes itself closed for a long daytime nap and the owls find their perfect branch to sleep off an evening of hunting. The daytime creatures awake for a full-length performance that lasts until nightfall.
The farm is training me into a morning routine. Wake; make coffee and dress with instructions to head to the barn for morning chores. I’m happy most of the time with these directives. The hens give me that impatient look as they wait for the coop door to open. Bugs to hunt, grass to eat and hey where is our morning scratch? The goats, the ever-vocal goats demand their hay and a bit of grain if they can make enough noise. The horses just stare me down. Come on now, forget those chicken and goats, we are cuter and bigger and more demanding. And so it goes, all dependent on sunrise. And the realization sets in that we are just actors in her play. Acting out our parts that were assigned long ago and all happy to entertain. I am just filling a role that so many before have played.
There are drawbacks to this newfound early routine. I constantly battle to stay awake at later night dinners with friends. More than once my friends think their conversation is boring me with my barely hidden yawns. (A few are.) I’m noticing fewer invites. Am I getting a reputation? B12 has become a new friend but the jury is still out if this is a placebo or actually works. Forget a late night movie as my snoring gets me kicked out of theaters regularly. New Year’s Eve is the worst. Fighting to stay awake to see that ball drop is next to impossible but still I battle on, sometimes even struggling to witness the East Coast drop three hours before midnight strikes in California!
The early mornings have their rewards. It’s a time Mother Nature really allows us humans to breathe in her glory. The calm silence gives us space to collect our thoughts and prepare for the day. I am grateful my clock is resetting. I’m learning more, getting more accomplished and just overall having a better start to my days. I realize that I will never get this very day back and having more of it and doing more with it makes me happy.
And then there are those days that I just wish I could sleep in late. That blinding light pours in, my shades have abandoned me, and I curse the wake up call that is called the sun. Yes, I know I’m supposed to embrace it but some days I just want to sleep in. I force myself to stay in bed hoping that I can return to dreamland but somehow that new tuned up internal farm clock pushes me out of bed and I begrudgingly convince myself to drink the Kool-Aid of enjoying this rise at dawn.