Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Up Early

It's a strange time to wake. Four am is still night time in January. I lay in bed conciousness coming to me. I listen for any irregular sound. The house pops, expanding or contracting. Perhaps that was it. I can see the sky is clear. There is a gentle light coming through the bedroom window from outside. A young sliver of a moon is tangled in the branches of a knarled white oak, the sun is coming just a couple hours behind it.
Last night the coyotes were howling again, but I stopped only breifly to listen. The house was busy. There was preperation for trips. And talk of final tests and questions asked why homework was left to the last minute. Martin Luther King had given us an extra day, but we used it earlier for other things.
It's too late to fall back asleep so I get up to investigate. It's cold, I pull on a sweatshirt and pad out of the bedroom. I stand absently at the living room window looking out over the snow pack wondering if a wind has come up. Maybe that is why I'm awake. There is no sound of wind and the tree branches are still like a painting. Its not wind that woke me.
I can hear the fan for the air exchanger exhausting stale air and bringing in fresh. I continue to stand and think at the window. The refrigerator in the kitchen checks on and runs for a few minutes. The setback thermostadt knows dawn approaches and the furnace starts up, slow at first, then building as heat builds up inside of the furnace.
I move on in the dark to the kitchen with the thought of looking at the thermometer. The refrigerator is quiet now. A blue light from the digital clock on the microwave reflects in the windows.
There is sound from the office, the cooling fan on the computer kicks in. The processor is working hard. Perhaps its an automatic software download. I stand in the doorway to the office. A green light on the network card flashes happily indicating everything is okay, a blue light shows the screen has power and is ready to wake from hibernation.
I go back to the kitchen and flick on a light briefly so I can read the thermometer. It's not exceptionally cold, fourteen degrees. I go downstairs and stand by the kids rooms and hear their regular breathing. If the dogs hear me they don't let on. Neither comes to greet me.
Life seems so complex at times. I think about work and money and the future. I think about other people who might be awake in the dark.
It occurs to me that there is another man about my age who might be awake. Like me he is married, has two kids, just one dog.
It is inauguration day and Obama will start his new job. I wonder how he sleeps at all.

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