October 17, 2012

Quiet change of season

What passes for fall arrived last week. Unfortunately, fall does not come forth in a burst of colorfully changing leaves. Though there are trees that go bare in the winter, they are more unusual in the land of palm trees, and the leaves don't seem to go through the cycle of colors before falling to the ground. Fall comes in more quietly down here, and was really just signaled by a break in the heat.

After a month of temperatures that flirted and cracked triple digits, and nights spent sleeping on top of the covers with a fan blowing, there was suddenly a bit of chill in the air. Windows that were opened first thing in the morning to provide a little AC-less breeze were now closed, and blinds that shuttered the baking sun were now thrown open to let it in.

I was jolted awake the first fan-less morning. I had apparently turned up the volume on the alarm to compensate for the background whirring of the fan, and the loud music had me reflexively slapping at the alarm clock. I managed to hit the snooze button without remembering exactly where it was. As I rolled over, cursing the jarring start to the day, I realized I hadn't hit the snooze button in a very long time.

I never wake refreshed, and mornings are a struggle of frustration (how is it possible to feel worse than I did before getting some sleep!). Growing up, and for much of my adult life, the snooze bar was used heavily. Each push of the button gave me an extra ten minutes of sleep. Where I have to read for an hour in the evening just to get to sleep, in the morning I had no difficulty slipping into unconsciousness in repeated ten minute blocks. Each time I hit the snooze, I would be giving up something from my morning. "Bam - I don't need a full breakfast. I can grab and go. Smack - I can probably get to work without stopping for gas. Slap - I can get by without a shower and shave. Crack - aw hell, I'm late."

My clock was also set five or ten minutes fast to give me a bit of cushion, but even in my groggy stupor, I could do the math to figure out the real time. At some point, I realized how ridiculous this was. Yes, I was falling back asleep each time, but why not trade that for thirty minutes of uninterrupted sleep. I set my alarm clock to the correct time, and stopped using the snooze bar. Getting out of bed wasn't suddenly easier, but I did stop feeling foolish and lazy at the start of each day. Plus, I only had to hear the alarm once instead of four times.

For the past few years, I have been waking up before the alarm most mornings. For a while, it was Sierra's clicking nails as she paced the hardwood floors for her breakfast. It was frustrating to be robbed of the sleep I so desperately desired. Depending how early she was, sometimes I could make her lie down and go back to bed, but usually once she was up and around, so was I.

Now I am starting to wake on my own. She is usually awake before I am, but now stays in bed, resting her sore legs until she is sure I am up and ready to feed her. Though I am still very tired each morning, I have lost the ability to fall back asleep. Every time I roll over and see that I am awake a half hour early, I feel robbed, though now it is my own body doing the stealing.

For the past week or two, I have been getting up earlier than normal, before sunrise during the week. After feeding Sierra, we both walk outside so she can take care of business. The air is that perfect level of autumn briskness. Cool enough to clear out the sleepy cobwebs, but not so cold that I need to throw on a jacket.

It was back in the 80's again this week, so our break from the heat was short lived. The days may feel like summer again, but for a few quiet hours each morning, autumn show its cool face.

1 comment:

Me said...

Great post! Loved how you wrote -

"temperatures that flirted and cracked triple digits"

The rest of the article had me in a fit of laughter because I COMPLETELY relate to NOT being a morning person.

Then you tied it up so eloquently with "The days may feel like summer again, but for a few quiet hours each morning, autumn shows its cool face."

Very nice.