Each Morning I wake before dawn. Even before the birds begin to sing. I’ve stopped looking at this as a problem, a disorder, and accept it as a gift. Extra time in the day. A few moments of calm before the storm of activity I call my life.
The first thing I do is step outside. No matter the weather. Still in my slippers and pajamas, this time of year often wrapped in a blanket, I go out on to the covered front porch on the east side of the house. The darkness around the porch is dispelled by a light we keep burning day and night. It is the strange fearful habit of farmers to keep the light burning , in case the cows come home I guess, even if we don’t have cows. In this little mantel of light I take a few deep breaths.
You see I’m an outsider.
A few years ago I had a knee operation, a very simple operation , that had me laid up for weeks. While I lied in bed my left knee cocked into an uncomfortable position by a big pillow, I thought. I had plenty of time to think.
What I thought about was what I would do if I couldn’t garden for a living anymore. I had horrific visions of fluorescent lighting in taupe painted rooms. A chair and a desk as tight as a straight jacket. A small unopenable window to the outside. I find office jobs scary. You see, I’m an outsider.
When I go to the theatre, during intermission I go outside with the smokers. I’m afraid I might have missed something, like a chance shower, or a fluctuation in the temperature. Just to breath the second hand smoke seems preferable to being inside.
I know sometimes this behavior borders on addictive, reeks of claustrophobia. If I’m somewhere where I can’t get a breath of fresh air I get panicky or sullen. I used to sleep with the window open all year long. Now that I share my bedroom it’s out of the question.
So I get up at 5 AM, and the first thing I do, well, maybe not the absolute first thing, is to go outside.
You see, I’m an outsider.