The Morning Is Mine

Reflections on a particularly fine pre Winter Solstice Day

Christin Kaiser

© Copyright 2022 by Christin Kaiser


Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.                      

People have used avian avatars to describe their personalities for decades.

I am a Lark, not a Night-owl. It might be amusing to look back at how I managed to evolve when so many near and dear to me in my formative years were ‘up till all hours’. . ..

I was raised in a multi-generational New England farmhouse. My parents and older sister and I lived in the front portion, our paternal grandmother and two unmarried aunts resided in the center rooms, and first an uncle and aunt and close in age cousin occupied the back carriage shed apartment; before my first grade teacher and her family took up a decades long residency..

They say I was a premature and weedy baby, but that didn’t stop me from thriving. Whatever sleep issues a premature infant may have had I can’t recall a time that I haven’t been able to leap out of bed with joy in my heart if not a song.

This has annoyed many people across the years; from my older sibling trying to make up for staying up late to watch Jack Parr on the original Tonight Show, to pub crawling room mates in England ...right up to the Night-owl I’ve been married to for over half a century.

Looking back on my formative years, I had many role models, none of whom were particularly early birds out to catch the worm. Dad was a hard working Civil Engineer commuting daily to Boston, so he had to be up early, even after his attacks of insomnia had him dragging. On retirement he was rarely out of bed before ten a.m. Mum was a natural Lark, but as a practicing RN with two school aged children at home, she took night-duty shifts so she’d be home when we left for school and returned. My grandmother’s natural preference was an unknown, as she had to be up before dawn cracked as a girl raised in the countryside of New Hampshire, with duties and chores to finish before walking to school, later as a young dental hygienist in Boston, she’d have needed to be up early as well. Marriage and four children would have set the mold for her hour of rising, even before moving out to the country home on the North Shore.

The unmarried Aunts were haphazard in their hours. Sometimes up bright and early and other times, usually weekends, sleeping in “ Chrisy don’t run, don’t let the door slam!”

Without any set chores, or reason to be up and about early why was I? Once I was in school, the hours I could call my own felt so diminished that I started to get up extra early just to be able to play alone with my toy horses and later complete set of museum correct model dinosaurs..

As I acquired pets and then a horse to care for it was mandatory to be up early and feed and care for them before school stole my free time for the majority of the day. My friends who also had a horse or dog, grumbled about the dark cold winter mornings trudging out to break ice from buckets and pick up the stall. I adored going out with just the starlight to guide me. Summer mornings meant I could be outside and riding off into the yet to top the horizon sun, discovering young fawns tucked behind a clump of tall grass while the doe watched from across the field. Or stand my horse at the edge of the pond and watch mayflies meet their end inside a trout’s gaping mouth.

Later in school in England, I remember watching the sunrise over Dartmoor, conjuring Lorna Doone. My roommates missed and couldn’t fathom why anyone could be bothered to sacrifice an hour’s sleep for this.

Mornings are magical anywhere in the world where there are spiders weaving webs outside. Dew drops are the same in central New Hampshire as they are on the coast of Maine, or Tasmania or even on the 32nd floor of a posh hotel in Auckland New Zealand. The spiders are different, but dew coalesced on the silken threads showcases the ephemeral artwork only in the flat early morning light.

Every day on the ‘right side of the turf’ should be counted as a gift, and I value each day I greet. Today was a particularly fine gift, after several grey and grismal days in a row this morning dawned bright and clear. I was up an hour before the alarm for 6:30. I may be a Lark, but our new puppy was still in snooze mode, so it took me longer to get both of us downstairs and outside than I might have done alone. The stars were fading, the sky brightening and some birds were unfolding themselves from a cozy tree is Sunday, a day of rest, and a time to take stock of the week just passed and reassess the week to come. I have a fluid unstructured skein of hours that are mine to use as I please. Coffee! Stoke the wood stove, keep the puppy from ‘bouncing’ the cat, and the cat from over disciplining the wayward pup..

A long form Reiki session, and gentle yoga stretches, are followed by delivering a thermos of fresh coffee to the bedside of my still slumbering mate, who will enjoy emulating Winston Churchill and get some research work done in bed before coming downstairs.

There is still a hulking mountain of unstacked firewood brooding in the driveway under tarps. It sends resentful vibrations to me, reminding me that winter is upon us , so shouldn’t I move it all into our woodshed and not tempt the Snow Gods ?! Yes I should, but not right now, Having been empty nesters for the past few decades, I am enjoying the new creativity of cooking a special diet for the new puppy.

Cooking early in the day, is relaxing and rewarding. The north facing kitchen window overlooks the slumbering garden, and the anti squirrel pole mounted bird feeders that are in constant use. Next to sitting mesmerized by my four goldfish, watching the wild birds at the feeders is the most relaxing activity I can think of.

Creative food prepping done, and the kitchen tidied up, it’s time to go snuggle by the fire with the puppy, and read some light escapist fiction. That sounds ridiculous, what could I wish to escape ‘from’ ? Nothing at all. but as an armchair adventurer and time traveler, there’s lots of places and times I enjoy escaping to! I’ve promised The Captain ( my spouse holds the boat’s tiller, hence his nickname) that for every three light books read, I’ll do one serious tome. This week that volume is ‘Women of the Old West’ by Winnifred Gallagher, parts are interesting, others are a bit of a slog as she details early personalities forming the Suffrage movements both East and West and the internecine conflicts between the two. So a Christmas Cowboy romance has been slipped into the stack of books by the love seat. Puppy is content, I’m amused, and enjoying fresh coffee, and chunks of orange flesh that were ‘left overs’ from this past week’s marmalade making. The sun is finally up and over the pines along the lakeshore across the road, bright shiny fresh and sweet early winter sunshine.

After a delicious brunch, puppy and I go out to play catch and fetch, and chat with the chickens in their covered run. The temperature has risen to 37 and it feels almost balmy in the sun. The grumble from the lurking unstacked wood has become deafening, so an exhausted pup is secured in her own sun room space, and The Captain and I start loading the gorilla cart and wheelbarrow with loose wood. I’m a persnickety wood stacker, and since this is one of my chosen domestic chores, he loads the carts and delivers a full one and removes the empty while I stack inside the shed. With his donkey labor, we get the job done three times as fast as if I was doing it all alone. We make a great team! As the low angled winter sun starts to slide into the back woods and shadows tickle us with chilly fingers, we agree to call it a day. Hot spiced tea with hot cider and a dab of butter await inside as well as a patient and lonely puppy in need of a cuddle.

I’ve just finished the second hot toddy, and the cheese and crackers. The pup is snoozing and the sweet an sour soup needs to be completed, so I’ll stop this ramble and say how delightful my day has turned out. I am so thankful to be a Lark, I feel I’ve enjoyed at least five hours more of life everyday than most of my peers.

Whichever feathered friend you resemble, be sure to attend to the day’s or night’s special moments. Live in each moment, embrace joy and the wonder of our world.


Chrisy/ Mum

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