On morning

Normally, if anything is indeed “normal,” my mornings are about rushing around, showering, slurping a bit of coffee, the martyrdom of shaving, toast (I like toast), and joining the crazy rush on the highways that lead to work. Sometimes I buy gas to break up the routine, but usually morning is pretty routine and crazy stuff. This morning, Saturday, was not about any of that. I am now enjoying my third cup of coffee, I’ve enjoyed home-made pancakes with the family, I’ve stalked around on facebook a bit, looking at new baby pictures, a wounded (he’s okay) cat and the fleur-de-lis on the helmets of my hometown football team. The town of St. Peter, Minnesota was founded by French Bourbons in the eighteenth century, ergo their colors are blue and white and their emblem is the fleur-de-lis. Funny how we never really escape our pasts no matter how hard we try. This morning, a Saturday morning, is both relaxing and contemplative because I don’t have to chase off to be somewhere on time. I often wonder about how much damage we do to ourselves by trying to meet deadlines, getting to work “on-time,” or by just rushing off in a general and haphazard fashion. Nothing about a Monday through Friday morning is either relaxing or positive. Perpetually late, myself, sometimes I wonder if I was born five minutes late and I’ve never been able to make up that time. Most mornings remind me of a perpetual chase for some totally undefined goal or fuzzy mirages, amorphous shapes of desire and envy. When I wake up I am not in any kind of shape to do anything important, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. Sometimes people go to bed late, or they sleep poorly, have nightmares, toss and turn. Getting up to an alarm is a form of legal torture that, after a number of years or decades, leaves an indelible scar–you end up a retired person who can’t sleep anymore after six a.m. So, ironically, when you have mornings on which you don’t have to get up, you can’t sleep anyway. The chaotic mornings of contemporary life cannot be a healthy way of starting the day. Sleep experts keep reminding us all that most people don’t ever get enough sleep and are permanently sleep-deprived, short-tempered, cranky, and irked. Road rage cannot be far behind. Not this morning, however. With a certain amount of glee, I turned off the alarm last night as I went to bed, and got up this morning when I felt like it. The coffee tastes better if you can sip it. The anxiety of facing crazy commuter morning traffic is gone, and I can unload the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen in peace. All of the negativity of a normal, work-a-day, morning is just not there. No kids to wake up and chase off to school, no stop and go traffic jam to deal with at the school, no speeders trying desperately to make it to work on time because they got up late. Overdosing your brain on locally produced cortisol only leads to more stress, which is bad for your whole body, leaving you feeling empty and hungover, cranky. Perhaps the lesson of Saturday morning is bigger and broader than it initially seems: maybe all mornings should be a bit more like Saturday and a lot less like Monday.