5:30 AM

5:30 am. I’m not a morning person. I don’t get up at 5:30 am unless I have to. But here I am. And I’ve already been awake for probably an hour. I gave in about 30 minutes ago and picked up my phone to play a game and check Facebook. Not much has changed in my feed since last night.

When we went to bed around 11:30 pm last night, I felt unsettled, uncomfortable. It didn’t actually take me long to fall asleep, but I felt like it was going to because my mind was racing and worrying and fighting the stillness. Around 4 am, when I woke up the first time, I wasn’t the only one up. Olive Oil was unsettled as well, and in her nonchalant, I’m-a-cat-I’ll-do-what-I-want-and-step-where-I-want attitude, she was pacing around the bed, disturbing both me and Chad. She kept walking across us and around us and pawing at us. As if that never happened, she’s now contentedly sleeping a couple feet away. She must be exhausted from all the pacing.

I feel like I should be exhausted too. My first thoughts when I woke up– beyond annoyance at our fuzzy disturbance– were, it’s too early and I’ll never make it through the day if I don’t go back to sleep. But I’m awake, sitting in the early morning stillness of our living room, the only sounds my slow tapping of the keys and… no, that’s it, just my typing.

I’ve craved this lately– quiet. So much of our days are filled with noise and activity, email notifications, television, fans to cool the summer heat, water running in the kitchen and bathroom, music or NPR during my commutes. It feels like every second is filled with sounds. It’s almost unnatural to turn them off, to sit in the peace of the morning and let yourself just breathe. 

After I gave up on trying to sleep, I started listing all the things I could get up and do: clean the kitchen, yoga, check emails, make breakfast, go for a run, catch up on my blog feeds, plan for the day of work ahead. Write.

I’ve struggled with my writing lately. I simultaneously have too much say and nothing to say. I doubt my words. I feel pressured (internally) to say the right thing. I don’t make the time I need to write and reflect, instead choosing a thousand other things. I stare at a blank screen, the idea that I started with seeming suddenly and wholly unimportant. But it’s now 6 am, and I’m here, writing. It’s the one idea in my string of to-dos  that actually made me pull back the blankets and slip softly out of the bedroom.

The house is filling up with sounds now. The refrigerator is running. Birds are issuing their “good mornings.” Olive Oil, up from her short-lived nap, is now going from crying upstairs to scratching at a box she wants to climb in to eating some kibble to pacing the room, her little nails clicking on the hardwood floor. I wonder if she’s unsettled because I am.

I’m reluctant to give in the morning, to the activity, but everything is waking up and the soft sunrise glow is getting brighter.

A few more minutes of quiet, then I’ll join the world again.

4 thoughts on “5:30 AM

  1. Life has felt a bit unsettled lately, and maybe Olive Oil has been feeling that as well. Though I’d argue that’s no excuse for waking us up at 5 in the morning. I know I’m more of a morning person than you, but I still procrastinate getting out of bed most mornings. However, recently I’ve been feeling the urge to get up earlier, to start the day earlier, to get up before everything else: while it’s still quiet and peaceful and sacred. I think it might help me feel more settled and so we’ll see; I may be doing that more in the weeks and months to come.


    1. I think you used to get up before me more often. You still do on weekends most of the time, but I think my tendency to sleep-in has rubbed off on you the past couple years.


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