I wake with darkness all around me.
The alarm rings.
I want to hit snooze but I know this is for my own good, the only way I can manage not drown in all the things that need tending to.
It’s only half an hour earlier than I used to wake up.
But I miss that half an hour of sleep.
Lately the morning air has been cooler, wintry even. I want to pull the blankets over my head and bury myself deep. In those moments I wish I could sleep forever.
But I rise. I rise with the darkness all around me.
I rise each day. 5:30am is the new black.
I start my days in much the same way each time. I wake up my muscles, wait until they know they must get up, and I drag my body out of bed, careful not to move too quickly. I walk through the pitch-black hallway, stumble on toys in the just-as-dark living room before I find the light switch and settle in the kitchen. I pour a big, full cup of strong espresso – black, no sugars. And then I sit on the back step, my favourite part of the house, my little retreat. I roll a cigarette; less precise than what I normally would when the sun has risen. It’s fatter. More strings of tobacco jut out from the paper and the filter is looser than usual. But it’s my favourite.
I take a sip of my coffee, swig it around in my mouth until I can taste the roasted flavours, and then I suck the tobacco deep into my lungs. Inhale. Exhale. I wake up some more and take in the serenity of the darkness. The outlines of everything are faint, barely there.
And I sit on that back step and admire the beauty of this time of day – the silence, the stillness and the lack of movement. It’s just me and the darkness and I get to sit there in it, just me, just my thoughts, before the sun breaks.
I have poetic thoughts on that back step, thinking how everyone else could quite possibly be asleep. I think about me being the only one awake, even though I know I am not, I dance with the idea and what it would feel like to have this whole place just to myself for the smallest slither of time.
And when I find myself getting lost in these thoughts, I shake myself to move from the back step, to start my day before the sun wakes. In the moments before it does, I do stuff. I exercise. I write. I make lunches and prepare meals. I shower. And then I watch the sun come up. I welcome the day and all that it brings.
I do all of this before my son wakes so that I have time to do all the other stuff that needs doing for him and him alone – the lunches, the bag packing, the uniform sporting, the cuddles, the breakfast and the us time before school.
And although waking with the darkness means I arrive at the end of the week with heavy eyes, I am falling slowly in love with the waking with the darkness.
It’s oh so quiet, so contemplative, so peaceful and I am falling in love with it and the organised chaotic calm it brings to my week.