The World Is A Strange Place at 6 A.M.
I’m currently on vacation at the beach in Rockport, MA, with my family. As a result of a devastating Mario Kart loss, I had to spend the night in a cot. Not fun times. The combination of the cruddy mattress, my bad back, and the fact that it was somehow freezing in my room, I ended up getting up around 6. Obviously I’ve been up that early before, but most times when I’m awake at this time I’m half-asleep and barely cognizant of my surroundings. Today, though, I was wide-awake. I got up, threw on a bathing suit, and headed downstairs to begin my day. After the mandatory Facebook/email check, I sat down to enjoy a few bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Shortly thereafter, my mother (who perpetually gets up around this time) immediately sent me to work assembling a creation she has dubbed “Chair World.” This complicated process involves creating a horse-shoe like perimeter of chairs, blankets, and oversized sand toys, along with a phalanx of umbrellas surrounding the outskirts like those stakes medieval armies used to stick up to allay cavalry attacks. It’s an extremely effective way to lay claim to a spot on the beach, though her enthusiasm and zeal for Chair World have led to many a raised eyebrow and exasperated sigh by those enlisted to aid her in its creation.
Fortunately, her efforts to rouse the rest of my family in the pre-dawn hour are usually met with indignation (particularly on the part of my brother and sister, habitual late-risers) so she has taken to setting up Chair World on her own, an endeavor that can apparently take as long as twenty minutes to complete. At any rate, once my mother’s shock at seeing me up subsided, she immediately recruited me as her assistant in the creation of our base. My mom is a lovely person, but when undertaking any kind of project she takes on Mussolin-like persona. You’re liable to get read the riot act for misplacing an umbrella or bringing down the wrong blanket.
So, after spending the requisite fifteen minutes setting up this creation, I decided to take a walk down the beach. It was enjoyable, yet a bit unsettling. I expected when I got up at 6 A.M. that the beach would be quiet, with a few early-bird joggers or people walking a dog. As it turns out, there’s a whole community of people that get up this early. I had about four dogs jump on me, overcome with the sheer joy of seeing another human being. There were older people everywhere I turned. A contingent of surfers were in the water, despite there being little-to-no-waves. Nonetheless, they seemed to be having a good time as they floated there, barely moving. They looked like a part of the environment, like they had always been there, were supposed to be there.
As I made my way down the beach, I walked by two women standing by the edge of the water. They were both, I would guess, in their mid-to-late sixties. One woman remarked that the morning, just before the sun rises and settles in the middle of the sky, was her favorite time of the day. I agree with her; the morning is pretty awesome. Every now and then I’ll get up really early to run, and I’m always amazed by how serene everything seems early in the day. I usually make some kind of vow to not sleep so late, to get up earlier and to enjoy more of the day, which is usually forgotten a day or two later. I’m serious this time, though; I’m going to start getting up early in the morning. As long as there are no dogs jumping on me, I’ll be fine.