Before Dawn


Night before last, I couldn’t get to sleep. I tried! It was one of those nights, though, that, no matter how much nighttime ritual is observed and despite how long I lay in bed waiting for it, sleep would not come. Yesterday, I was tired and cranky. Last night, I went to bed early, and fell asleep right away. Because today is my day off, and I had a sleepless night to make up for, I didn’t set an alarm. I should have.

I woke up this morning, too early. I felt well rested. Based on the quality of light coming through the window, I decided it must be 5 AM, or thereabouts. I get up at 5 AM on the days that I have to be at work by eight o’clock. I congratulated myself on becoming an early-riser, and on being able to tell time by the color of the sky. I counted backwards to bedtime, and determined that I had gotten enough sleep, though barely.

I fluffed the pillow and rolled over. Maybe I could fall back asleep for an hour or two. Seven o’clock would be good. I’d be well rested and ready to tackle the day. I started going over in my mind all the things I want to accomplish on this one day off. Why not just get up, and get started? I could always catch an afternoon nap, or go to bed early again tonight. Just think of all that I could get done, with an early start! I’m awake, anyway, may as well be up.

Having convinced myself, I slid upward on the mattress to try not to disturb the two chihuahuas that sleep on either side of me. I found my glasses on the low shelf beside the bed, and headed for the bathroom. On the way, turned on the coffee pot. Washed hands, brushed teeth. Pulled on socks, because the floor is chilly. Added my cozy robe. As I stopped in the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee, I noticed the green, glowing numbers of the clock on the back of the stove. Three o’clock in the morning!?!

Next, ensued a debate with myself. Do I lay back down immediately, and try to go back to sleep? If so, do I leave the coffee pot on, to get strong and syrupy while I sleep? If I turn it off, I’ll have to reheat it in a pan, as I don’t have a microwave oven, and it never tastes like it should when it’s reheated on the stove top. If I go back to bed, will I be able to get to sleep, or will I just toss and turn? If I stay up, will I continue to feel wide awake, giving myself an advantage over my long “to-do” list, or will I peter out for lack of sleep?

Once I pour a cup of coffee, the decision is made. What to do, what to do? What made me so sure that the middle of the night was morning? How could I possibly feel well rested? And what if clocks had never been invented: would I be up and feeling fine, or still asleep? My big chihuahua got out of bed, shook herself all over, and managed a couple yoga poses (Downward Dog is her specialty) on her way to the door. Okay, that clinches it. I poured a cup of coffee. Up before dawn; I’ll see how the day unfolds.

About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

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