Morning Cheerfulness

A bright sky last night, with one enlarged eyeball-moon staring at me through the skylight as I tried to sleep. Yesterday I was slow to get out of bed. I have set my alarm clock forward an hour to accommodate the new round of daylight savings, but only look at the face of the clock momentarily with one eye open before reaching over and tapping the snooze button, and then settling back for the luxury of another few moments of sleep. Saying no to the demands of a clock can be such a sweet thing to do. It is something I wanted badly to do for many years, which, I suppose, says much about my disposition during my working years.

The bed covers seem to fit better about my form in the morning than they do in the evening. I have had time to wiggle about in my sleep and find the ultimate position of restfulness, and the warmth given off by my lazy pile of flesh has radiated outward, perhaps even into the material that forms the bedroom walls. Some of these days when I first stir, clock or not, I deliberately run thoughts through my mind, just to sort of test the waters for the day, to determine my own level of emotional well-being, before I consider entering the land of the upright and the fully conscious. Maybe there is some good rationale for not getting out of bed at all today, in which case I am much safer here, hidden away under the covers, in a cheery and private universe of my own design and selection.

Those sort of arguments often go through my mind just before I get out of bed. Some people can just jump up quickly to greet the day, no matter what mood has settled into them, while they tell themselves that they can worry later about the consequences. I might have had that eager approach to morning wakefulness at one time, but some how it has left me. Now I look for the smoother, more purely blended transition between being asleep and being awake, despite what habitual effort the alarm clock beside me may try to induce. Was it Mark Twain who said that morning cheerfulness is one of the most obnoxious behaviors known to man kind?

I toss a few things around the room when I first get up. I readjust pillows and sheets, find a pair of shorts and sweatshirt to thrust my arms and legs into, and stumble, sleepy-eyed, into the bathroom for a cold splash of water on my face. I look up in the swinging-door mirror afterward to examine my own expression as the water drips off of me and back into the sink. There is some semblance of smile, but mainly I acknowledge that this truly is me, and that I haven’t woken up as somebody else. I already know it’s me though, because I am following the same old behavior patterns I’ve always known, the ones I go through with only muscle memory shoving me along the way.

I take the towel hanging beside the sink and pat down my wet face to wipe off the splash. I’ll worry about the hair and the teeth and all of that later on. What’s really more important is that I get the coffee water boiling as quickly as possible on the range top in the kitchen. This being awake for more than ten minutes without the surge of caffeine jolting quickly through my brain and blood flow, is pushing the limits of comfortable morning consciousness. No doubt, there are people across the land who can arise and come fully to attention without access to coffee, and I salute them for this noble ambition and victory over blissful habit.

I will skip morning push-ups, stretches, or even dumping the garbage under the sink. I stand at the sink, staring out the window into the forest, awaiting the first bit of whistle to come out of the boiling water kettle. There! I can hear the first hint of bubbly steam building up inside. I can already feel my pulse quicken! The sky somehow even looks brighter and prettier than it did just the minute before. A hint of milk, two spoons of coffee crystals, and now I pour the hot water and stir in full revolution ten or twelve times. I am done! Now I might greet this day with readiness and fortitude.

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