5:15AM seemed a little extra early this morning when the twittering of my iPhone interrupted my dream. I awoke confused, unsure of whether it was really time to get up, having just fallen into a dream state a few minutes before the alarm went off.
I got up, turned off my annoying phone and then looked back over my shoulder at the warm bed I had just left behind. My dog remained curled on his bed on the floor, snoring softly through slightly curled lips. My husband seemed oblivious to the alarm, his own snores harmonizing with my dog’s–my husband forever the musician.
I slipped back under the covers for just a few minutes. I thought about rolling over and falling back into whatever dream I had been pulled from. But then, I remembered why I’d set the alarm for 5:15AM. It was because I was going to row for the first time since last fall!
The thought of entering the river all by myself in the dark after not having rowed for months set off a new alarm, awakening the rabble of butterflies in my stomach. With so much fluttering going on, there was no possibility of going back to sleep. I decided coffee was in order.
I managed to get myself caffeinated, dressed, and assembled enough to take Tisen (who had managed to get out of bed) for a quick walk around the park. Then, I was off.
I stuffed my rowing equipment into my saddle bags and rolled my bike out of the garage. I carried it up the flight of steps to ground level, mounted, and rolled off into the dark feeling somewhat stoic, like I was about to face an enemy.
The quick 2 mile ride to the rowing center warmed up my legs and helped me relax. The rabble in my belly died as I pumped my way up the slope of the Walnut Street Bridge looking over the stillness of the river below. I reminded myself that it wasn’t that cold. The worst thing that could happen is I could get wet. I would make it back home slightly chilled, but no worse for wear.
I was the first rower of the morning. I turned on the lights and tried to find my favorite boat to no avail. I found another one and quickly learned I’d forgotten the art of carrying a rowing scull, but I managed to get it out safely.
I did everything out of order, but once I was seated in the scull and rowing, it was like I hadn’t missed a week. The rhythm of legs pushing while arms pull oars through water, bending arms, straightening arms, sliding slowing back up to the catch, listening to the oars in the oarlocks and watching the Great Blue Heron soar a foot above the water all to a slow count of 4–it’s hard to imagine a better way to start a day.