After returning from Columbus and our own bed, I sleep soundly, but still awaken at 4AM. It seems to be the magic time for me these days. Perhaps I really do need to re-prioritize with yoga going to the top of the list? But here I am, at 4AM, wide awake. I take my laptop out on the balcony and sit down to blog. This is my favorite place in the morning. The city traffic trickles by instead of roaring and the cool morning wind makes me feel like someday, it really will be less than 95 degrees. I pause and look out over the city lights–many of which are solar powered. The lights make Chattanooga seem like a bigger city than it is, glowing with the insistence that it matters. I think about my sister-in-law and my nephew. They are in New Orleans,when sister-in-law returning my nephew to college after summer break. She will drive to Chattanooga today, staying with us for two nights as our first visitor. I think about how the city looked to me the first time I saw it and wonder if it will charm her in the same way.
I relax for a moment, realizing that today will be a relaxed day compared to the previous days in Columbus. With no one to see and no need to commute to work, I will wake Pat up in a couple of hours and we will take our morning walk by the river. I check my work email and take care of a few quick items, making sure There are no emergencies that require changing the pace of my morning. As the first rays of sunlight start to hit the bridges below, I pause again to appreciate the changing scene. A bat flies by, probably to retire for the day, and I wonder how many Mosquitos it ate last night.
I go in and open the refrigerator. It’s completely empty except for a water-filter pitcher. We have been buying groceries European style–buying only what we need for a day at time. In some ways it seems a waste of an American refrigerator, but the walk to the grocery is short and carrying groceries home limits how much we can buy at one time. I smile as I think of how many small things have changed in our life by moving to a new community. We could have walked to the grocery store in Columbus every day, but it didn’t occur to us. Changing places makes us think more about changing habits.
I putter around for a bit in the kitchen and then return to the balcony, still thinking of my nephew going back to school. I remember going back to college myself. It was not such a dramatic change for me. For one, I didn’t leave my home town. In fact, I didn’t leave home until my senior year (although I still paid rent). For another, I took classes every summer, so my break was limited to 3 weeks between summer and fall quarters. I also worked, so the continuity of my job(s) kept that break from feeling much like a break. Even so, the feeling of going back to school always delineated the summer from the fall even when the weather belied the shifting seasons. It was always a time of reflection with a sense of starting fresh. I wonder where that feeling went after so many years of work with no seasonal changes. I now look forward to fall for the shift in weather. The cold nights and sunny days feel like a burden lifting, but gone is the excitement of starting over as the seasons change. I wonder if, in this new place, that excitement will be reborn.
It’s almost time to wake up Pat. When I return inside, he is already up. I check my email again just in case something is going on in another part of the world where the offices are shutting down for the day. I wonder if my colleagues on the other side of the globe are watching the sunset as I watch the sunrise–each of us witnessing the same event from opposite directions.