Yawn…Early Riser Minutiae

     The sun was well on its way to risen, I was on my second breakfast (lemon tea and cinnamon toast) and I could smell wood smoke in my hair.

     After an unusually premature 7 PM retirement, I had found myself awake at 3:30 am. My brain was totally convinced that dawn was at hand and not at all ready to let go of the perception of a waking world. I lay in bed until the leisurely hour of 4 AM and finally gave up the battle. There’s no convincing a mind when it doesn’t want to be convinced (even when it’s your own). It’s not like there wasn’t anything to do. There’s always something to do around here whether you will it or not.

     Friday is garbage day and as Friday had officially started for me, I though I might as well get up and take the trash out. The dog looked a little surprised to see me awake on the rising side of morning, being the night owl I am, but she took it in her stride. After all it meant an early breakfast for her and anything that means food is alright with Kera. The birds were already awake. I could hear them calling to each other outside even though it was still too dark to see them.

     As long as I was up I thought I might as well get the laundry started. I don’t know why I say “started” quite frankly the laundry never ends, but that’s just the way of it. The laundry is in the basement as is the kitty litter box. It’s not the best place for the laundry with septic as the sewage solution of necessity required by our rural location. The washing machine is below ground and has to drain “up” so to speak. A laundry pump and a short learning curve have led to several flooding “mishaps” and now I know why a main floor laundry is a huge selling point for rural properties.

     On the other hand, the basement is the best place for kitty litter as it prevents the dog from filling up on crunchy coated “kitty fritters” during the day and spoiling her supper. Garbage day is kitty litter day. A day made all that much more important with the approach of our feline room mate’s 17th birthday. If the litter box does not display the proper Feng Shui arrangement of a Japanese sand garden, each particle of litter balanced in a gloriously ordered harmony, he will stroll by and leave a “note” of his displeasure on the rug in front of the washing machine. This is a particularly distressing event after he’s spent a night indulging in his favourite snack of Zesty Cheese Doritos (talk about your junk food hangovers). A quick vacuum of the area rug in the basement (I love owning my own house. Where else can you vacuum at 4:30 in the morning?) and the rest of the trash is gathered up and out by the road all before 5 AM.  

     First breakfast followed because then I knew for sure I wasn’t going back to bed and there’s just enough time to catch the shirts at that special magical moment in the drying cycle when they are completely dry and wrinkle free. If caught in this fleeting state of grace and enshrined on hangers in their native closet habitats the act of ironing can be avoided indefinitely. This getting up early is for the birds. As a matter of fact they’re gossiping out in the yard like a rioting mob of old fishwives and the red headed woodpecker was jack hammering with such abandon that I had started to feel a little guilty about my feeble housekeeping efforts.

     The pile of winter windfall beside the shed needed a quick reduction before it was converted to a spring skunk condo love nest. If you live anywhere that isn’t completely covered in concrete you’ve more that likely got your own skunk story. Mine includes a dog, a shadowy fuzzy figure, tears, the loss of my favourite denim jacket and a 3 AM frantic phone call to my shift working hubby (not so hard to figure out I’m sure).

     The sky had finally started to lighten and the air was still, not a breath of wind. The day was on the cusp of heading toward a high of 18 degrees Celsius. Finally spring had arrived, actually here in Canada as far as most people are concerned anything close to 15 degrees Celsius is shorts weather but really it’s a personal thing. I celebrated by wearing flip flops and my favourite maroon stripped jammy bottoms (I love living in the country.)                     

     I could see the morning star above the pines that line the back of the apple orchard. There was a darker smudge of flat striated cloud limning the opposite bell curve of the horizon. As I lit the paper under the kindling it trembled just a bit in the light not light of early morning dark. Catching quickly the smoke curling up and the sweet smell of pine on the air, the blaze, gave the illusion of a small dawn. The birds hovered and hopped closer, drawn by the lesser star.

     Under the chorus of the birds I thought I could hear the sound of the waves on the beach past the fields and the trees. Sometimes the wind waits to play there before it heads up the cliffs and falls into the hollow that marks this small settlement. It might have been the crackle and steam of the winter dried apple and the ever green pine but I like to think it was the voice of the wind in the waves blending with the symphony of bird song and fire.

     The real dawn came soon enough and eclipsed its infant brother. The birds, caught shamefaced in their foolish idolatry, scattered to warm themselves under the light of their one true god. I headed inside to tea, toast, a little something for the dog (because she likes toast too) and the actual, factual start of my day.  

13 thoughts on “Yawn…Early Riser Minutiae

  1. Very peaceful to read.  I used to get up real early but now that I am kinda retired I find myself less stressed and able to sleep later…..


  2. I love being up at – or before – dawn, although I don\’t make is sound as nice as you do.  As to catching that perfect moment when drying shirts to obviate the ironing thereof, I have found that being too old to ever look good again, and thus to have no reason to try allows me to wear shirts unironed,no matter where in the cycle of drying I catch them – indeed, I hardly care where in the cycle of decay I catch them.  It is awesomely spring-like down here in the Southern US today (after being jolted out of my stupor last evening by the tornado sirens (all promise and no action) – with a warm sun teasing the temps up to near-80 (I don\’t do Celsius).  The only thing better than dawn is anytime on the weekend!  Cheers.


  3. I\’m telling you , you spoil that fat dog ! My Friday morn was eerily similar to yours however it was because some boy started barfing at 4 and 4:15 and again at 5 . Once he was settled I was in my basement getting another coat of finish laid down .


  4. @Cheryl
    I don\’t know Cheryl…it seems to me that you just might be working more in your retirement than you did in your 9 to 5. I don\’t know how you get any sleep at all!
    I live in what is lovingly referred to as Tornado alley here in Ontario. I read once that May 15th is the day that sees the most tornadoes touching down here in North America… so I think you might be hearing those sirens for a bit longer yet. Keep your head down!
    Well I hope that your boy is feeling better and that you got that second coat of finish on. As for my dog being spoiled or fat…I\’ll agree with you on the first because there is no denying that but she is NOT fat. Keep up those fat comments and you\’ll find yourself receiving an email comprised of fashion photos of my "shapely" canine companion! =P


  5. Daylight Savings – do you have that in Canada?  The clock here says almost 6:00, but my eyes are calling it a big fat liar.
    I had to laugh at kitty fritters – my dog used to sanck on those all day long until I installed that little swinging pet door in the laundry room.  Who knew cat food could go so far?


  6. @Indigo
    We do have Daylight Savings here in Canada…I must confess I\’ve always been a much bigger fan of "fall back" than "spring forward". I enjoy gaining that extra hour of snooze time even if it is only on Sunday morning.
    I never thought of my dog\’s appetite for cat poop as an economical stretch of cat food…Maybe I should move the litter box back upstairs and save myself a little bit of money! ;P


  7. THAT is one heck of a morning!

    i loved the part about your cat — not finding the litter just so, dropping you a note of displeasure. ha ha !

    your minutiae is quite lovely.


  8. Golden Rule # 1 : If you have a furry companion of the canine variety that resides in your home and can sit and manage tp get food by turning the eyes on or steals treats from the kitty litter (ewww) or has a different approach on how to handle each individual in the house that dog is fat . Doesn\’t matter if they tip the scales or not every dog is fat . Thus ends the golden rule .


    I was going to comment about the awesome description of the birds "…gossiping out in the yard like a rioting mob of old fishwives…" (love it!) — but then I read your answer to Indigo\’s comment and promptly lost all train of thought.
    Those "kitty fritters" are cat poop? Really?!? Ick!!
    I admit, I\’m a total dope about all things animal, but this poop-eating is absolutely shocking to me. The grossest closest I can get is the year my new mother-in-law prepared an elegant, extravagant prime rib and lobster dinner for Christmas Eve. Not 30 seconds after #4 Son set down his fork, he ran from the table toward the bathroom — didn\’t quiiiiiiite make it — and vomited all over the floor.
    The two house dogs immediately gobbled up the freshly-deposited Christmas Eve dinner as if it hadn\’t just come from inside my son. I still gag just a little when I think of that.
    Almost worse, however, was the implication that our ridiculously fancy dinner wasn\’t worth keeping down. Poor #4 Son and I practically slunk out of the house, we felt so guilty.
    Well. On that note, I\’m off to bed. I\’m not feeling so well…


  10. @Green Pomegranate
    My dog likes to eat all kinds of poo, deer poo, rabbit poo and yes cat poo too. As to a dog\’s interest in vomit well it still looks and smells like food to them so why not? I know, I know ewwwwww!
    My dog eats cat vomit and hair balls so he\’s not getting the same high class vomit that your MIL\’s dogs were privileged with lol. Oh well I guess she\’ll just have to settle for what she can get. At least you didn\’t have to clean up the big chunkies when #4 (that\’s Jack right?) missed the toilet…I always try to look for the silver lining in that sort of thing 😉 


  11. MyGodGirl! you must\’ve been totally exhausted by the time the sun finally came up! hahahaha
    I\’m an earlyEarlyEARLY riser too — I hate missing out on the wee hours of the day. If I sleep til 6am, I feel that a good share of my day was wasted. But it all manages to get done.


  12. EEERRRRR!!!! I wish that I lived in the country too. Thank-you for your writing. It always takes me to the life I wish I had. At least the daydream with these stories is better than nothing. (I realize you may be laughing right now, saying "The life you wish you had" but trust me, with your writing your life really seems like you don\’t forget to stop and notice the beauty around you. You inspire me so much!
    Ciao for now!


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