I am not a morning person. I love to sleep more than almost anyone I know, and I am really good at it. If undistracted, I would probably naturally stay in bed until noon every day. I’m not kidding.
Years ago, when my brother was a new parent, he told me — in the authoritative way he makes many declarations to his little sister — that when I turned 30, I would become a morning person overnight. I didn’t have kids. And more than a decade past that birthday, I am still waiting for this promised inborn inclination to kick in.
Over New England winters, the sheer duration of the intense deprivation of sunlight, the absence of living green things, the aching for warm air practically sucks me soulless. I grew up in Texas, so the short, short days and long, dark nights exhaust me. Only when I moved here did I realize I am actually a photosynthetic creature, and lack of light makes me die just a little bit, like a flowering plant unable to bloom. Winter mornings are the worst. Nestled into the cocoon of my down comforter, generally weighed down by a few cats and a dog, my desire to hibernate is overwhelming.
As a writer with a day job, I have often wanted to be a morning person, able to seize the early hours for creation before I give away most of my time and energy to someone else. But each time I think I’m going to start a new routine and harness that time, my pillow keeps my head firmly anchored, and the next thing you know, I am pushing the snooze button again.
Today my husband came in and woke me two precious minutes before the alarm went off. After 21 years together, he knows I will not be in a glorious mood about this. My neck was stiff, one eye was practically sealed shut and my dog didn’t even want to get up. But he brought coffee today for me to sip in bed and then went downstairs to feed the animals, after which he sent me, via text, an audio clip of him singing “the red, red robin goes hop, hop, hopping along…” This is, ridiculously, true.
I got up and opened the blinds to a stream of pure sunshine, looked out at my neighbor’s fragrant lilac bushes and dressed in time to take the dogs for a real walk through the neighborhood, during which I marveled at the copious explosively-green plants, at the perfume in the air from so many blooming flowers, at the crystalline blue sky. The puppy did his business under the most profusely blooming fruit tree that it wasn’t even a chore to pick up after him. It was so beautiful, I simply could not sustain crankiness.
Grudgingly, I kissed my husband goodbye and left for work. But the magic didn’t end as soon as I expected. Crossing the bridge over the river on my way, I spied a solitary swan gracefully making her way, a delicate wake cut behind her in the placid water, a line traced across the surface, the drawing of the tip of her white tail. What a gift.
So I’m getting this down before my work day starts, before that proverbial bubble bursts. It’s 8:58 a.m. Maybe I could be a morning person after all, at least in the spring.