A Dispatch from the Early Hours

IMG00474-20091027-0702Earlier this year, I bumped my wake-up time up by 45 minutes. I did this because I realized I needed to find more time in my life to do all the things I wanted to do, and since the day wasn’t about to sprout extra hours, I needed to recover them from somewhere.

I thought it would be difficult, but since I am a morning person already, I adjusted to the early wake up time fairly well. Typically, if I don’t hit snooze too much, I am at my computer with my cereal and banana by 6AM, WERS on the radio. I give myself a half hour to eat and catch up on the internet. Then, it’s either time to write or go for a run. (I wrote about this a bit on my three-month blogaversary.) It’s worked out great. I can relax, get stuff done — writing or fitness — and usually still afford to walk to work (a 45-minute endeavor) if the weather is good.

The advantage I had in starting this when I did, of course, is that in the spring, each day brings a minute or more of additional sunlight than the day before it. The dawn gets earlier, the sunset gets later, our days are increasingly enriched by daylight.

By the equinox, we enjoy such an embarrassment of daylight riches that we barely notice as those minutes begin slipping away, until one day we’re standing at the bus stop after work, not too late, and we notice the sun almost dipping below the western horizon. Then we remember the hole in our pocket that let those minutes of sunlight slip away the whole time, unbeknownst to us.

Lately, at 6:30AM, it’s still practically pitch dark — not exactly enticing weather to go out running around Somerville. So I’ve taken to running from my office after work, around 5PM. But after this weekend, when Daylight Saving Time ends, it’ll be pitch black at that time, too. But then, if my calculations are right, 6:30AM should be well lit enough to encourage me to step out of doors for running again. What a yo-yo.

Then there’s the writing. Lately, work has picked up, and I’ve been doing more e-mail-checking and task-completion here at the home office. I am trying to sanctify this early morning time, but it’s easy to see it as a great time to knock items off the ol’ to-do list. And that’s an even more tempting diversion when you’re at a crossroads with your main project, unsure how to proceed.

So, what does all of this mean? It means that no matter how you schedule your life or attempt to reclaim your time, forces outside of your control — be they astronomical or mundane — will intervene. No matter what plan you put into place, you have to be willing to adjust if you’re still committed to your goals. And if your goals seem insurmountable, you’ve just got to find some way of chipping away at them, in whatever space you can find to do so.

Here in these early hours, it’s easy to become pensive. I’m awake a long while before my husband and many of my friends, and the world around me is dark and still, so it’s a very solitary time. I hate overhead light, so I prefer to sit in the dark by the glow of the monitor until the natural light begins to filter through my window, gradually illuminating my space. But if there is one abiding advantage of waking up this early, it is regularly seeing the sunrise out my kitchen window. The picture above was taken this morning. Sure, it ain’t over the Atlantic Ocean, but for a view from Winter Hill, it’s not too shabby at all. And while the amount of time we get to see it each day is ever-changing, the sun always comes. Everything else may change, but you can always can count on that.

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3 responses to “A Dispatch from the Early Hours

  1. I wish I had the drive to wake up that early, but I am a night person. I do love the quiet time though, and in our current apartment, I have taken great notice at the changing light and seasons from our windows. Beautiful sunrise that you captured.

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