December 24, 2006

6:13 a.m.

The Dawn is sneaking up on me, tiptoeing in like a high school girl 3 hours past her curfew on prom night. For once though, I’m ready for her.

I don’t want to spill too much of the gritty details, but it’s safe to say we haven’t been on speaking terms in a long time. She does her thing all day, and then parties till the wee hours of the morning, and then comes slinking in some early hour when I’m fast asleep. She knows that it’s just best for her to creep in silently and be content for us to parallel universes, practically unaware of each other’s existence. I haven't seen the sunrise since, like, a long time ago.

I’m sitting and waiting on the porch in the shadows. My rocking chair creaks rhythmically, a painfully slow rhythm solo in the painfully boring soundtrack of my life. I’m on my fifth cup of coffee now. Sequoia Blend, mixed extra strong. The package claims that it’s bold, smooth, and full-bodied. I want to be those things (who doesn’t?), so I drink the coffee and secretly hope that those qualities will be conferred on me.

The birds have begun to chirp, and off in the distance I can hear a rooster crowing. For those of you whose only knowledge of roosters comes from cartoons and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes commercials, you need to know that you’ve been deceived about roosters. In the cartoons they rise at the crack of dawn, strut to the top of the henhouse, perform one majestic contratenor cockadoodledoo, and then march back down to protect their harem of hens. The media has brainwashed you about the true nature of roosters. In reality roosters crawl out of bed at 4:30 a.m. and mill about the yard looking for stray bits of chicken feed, continually crowing out crass comments to the other roosters and pinching the tailfeathers of whatever hen happens to be nearby. Roosters are vulgar, boorish creatures, the frat boys of the poultry world.

I digress.

Generally I avoid the Dawn because of the ever confusing mixed feelings I have. Well, also because I’m lazy. But I really do have mixed feelings about the sunrise. I waver in my opinion of it, sometimes viewing it as a symbol of the bland repetition of life. It's just one step after another for the rest of your life until you finally call it a day and then it's the end.

The other times I see it a little more positively, symbolizing the renewal of hope and the chance of a clean slate that each day offers. The sun falls, but the sun also rises. Sunrise is a happy thing, you should smile about it.

Anyway, I think about those things at least a little bit of the time. The rest of the early morning I spend cursing the cold and the dew and the previous evening's caffeine overdose and the fatigue that pervades the body of one who would rather do anything than go to sleep at night.

I'm getting on a rabbit trail here, but I've just noticed my annoying tendency to symbolize everything. I recognize it's a problem, so bear with me here, ok? You'd do the same if you spent an entire semester taking upper-level grad courses on Nathaniel Hawthorne, who could turn anything (and I mean anything--clothing, people, "A"-shaped rashes) into a symbol.

Anyway, daybreak symbolizes repetition. It follows the same routine every day. Same old song and dance, day after day after day, no variation. In my more morbid states I imagine the never-ending triumph of light over darkness, then darkness over light, and so on to be symbolic of life itself. It’s endlessly cyclical. The Romans imagined the personified Fortune to be blindfolded, turning a wheel that governed our destinies. You have no control over it, and Fortune herself isn’t exactly looking out for your best interest. So you win and you lose and you don’t get much say in the matter. You fancy yourself master of your fate. You keep grabbing and you keep missing, and the routine replays itself endlessly. Until you get old, when you’re a little less hopeful and a little more weary, a myopic cynic left to wander in the detritus of unfulfilled hopes and futile longings.

Stuff like that’ll keep you up late.

Fortunately I’m not always in a morbid state of mind.

The impending sunrise (it’s a little after 6 right now) looks a little more hopeful. This coming day heralds a new day, as well as yet another notch to check off on the countdown for a new year. The new year’s got lots of potential. A chance to finally sort through the thousands of half-written documents littering the desktop and every possible folder on my laptop. And maybe I’ll turn over a new proverbial leaf and start a running routine that I’ll actually stick to. And who knows, maybe I’ll do something remotely useful this year.

Now as the remaining half of my Sequoia blend sits cooling in my Captain Planet mug, I ponder the much-overused-but-eternally-meaningful question, “Is the glass half full or half empty?”

I’m gonna have to say half full. At least I sleep better that way.

Posted by jonsligh at 12:12 AM | Comments (12)