5:42 a.m.

In the window of a corner top-floor apartment across the street, a blue glow flickers as someone lies in bed watching the morning news. Or maybe they fell asleep with the television on after the late shift.

Or maybe they have a lava lamp. The mind wanders…

The Today Show hasn’t even started, and this morning, I’ll watch the sky lighten through Starbucks’ tall glass windows.

My eyes fluttered open at 5:30 a.m., and I decided not to fight it. Even now, as I write this at 6:45, there’s more than an hour until my alarm was set to go off. Waking up has been a struggle lately. It’s not that I’m depressed; it’s more that I don’t have any reason to get out of bed.

Before bed last night, I finished reading a book called Life After God, by Douglas Coupland. It was a glorious little collection of short stories, but I was particularly struck by the ending. In the final pages, the central character wakes to find himself wrapped in a blanket, still wearing his business suit, lying in a tent in the middle of the Canadian rainforest. It’s the darkest, most remote place he can think of — he’s driven himself, without even realizing where he was going, to the end of everything to find a beginning.

He strips down to nothing and looks at his skin, grey from lack of sun and lack of joy, and plunges into an ice-cold pool of fresh water. A baptism.

 

I don’t know. Maybe something I read helped me remember that discovery is a huge part of what I love about life. Little things.
And the joy of watching the world wake up has never been lost on me entirely.

 

A parade of construction workers walks by, neon-yellow reflective vests under their Carhartts and hoodies, their eyes barely open, clutching their thermal coffee mugs and lunch pails. One of them came in to Starbucks and ordered a Frappuccino.

I feel vaguely envious that, after eight hours on the job, these men can look up at the brick structure as they walk away and say, “I built that.”

 

The streets glisten from the persistent sprinkles that promise to turn into steady showers as the morning wears on. The weather report says it’ll be a cold, gloomy day to be working outside, but morning darkness is different from evening darkness, and the sky just before sunrise is full of possibility — it’s a bright, steely nothing color that hasn’t yet decided whether to be grey or blue.

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6 Responses to “5:42 a.m.”

  1. Brian D. Says:

    i wish i had some great lyric to share, but the only thing that comes to mind is ” Wake up in the morning felling like P.Diddy”, which doesn’t really fit…night or sleep i guess is the great equalizer, you can wake up to new possibilities…the night can clean your slate, so to speak….maybe this is what i mean…”Some kind of magic happens late at night, when the moon smiles down on me and bathes me in it’s light
    .
    I fell asleep beneath you in the tall blades of grass, when I woke the world was new,
    I never had to ask…” or maybe not…have a great day, a great new day…. 🙂

  2. Gabriel Says:

    See?  This is what I’m talking about.

    When it’s 5:42am in my world, I’m driving to work and NPR is on and I have absolutely no idea what is being said but I hope, subliminally at least, that I’m getting some of the information, and not just getting irritated at the way they insist on saying, “Love: It’s HHHWAT makes a Subaru a Subaru.”

    • paigeworthy Says:

      And when *I* hear those commercials, all I can think is, “How many dumb assholes would, when writing that, put a comma between the two ‘a Subaru’ references?” Augh.

      We are afflicted, Gabriel.
      Oink.

  3. Amydelafuente Says:

    I loved the ending of this post. Possibilities …

  4. Brooke Farmer Says:

    When I quit my job last year I made a promise to myself to ensure I didn’t sink into an utter lack of productivity. 

    When my bladder forces me from bed I force myself to get up and start my day. And before I allow myself to go out to “play” I have to do something that matters to me. It can be a blog post, some other writing project, etc. But I have to create SOMETHING before I run off with friends. 

    I think I am much happier because of this rule I made for myself. And sometimes it does mean that I start my day at 5:30. Other times it’s 8:30 . But either way I get up and DO SOMETHING every day when I’m not working. And it’s good. 

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