These days I wake up at cat o’clock. Puss meows to escape, the birds twitter and fuss, a din moments before first light appears on the horizon. Little cat’s seasonal wildness begins mid-April or so, while mine lies dormant for another month. By mid-May we are in cahoots while the house sleeps on.
There are a number of ritualistic characteristics to this change. I sip my latte on the front steps with the morning sun on my face. I abandon housework and drag myself in to make dinner. I don’t answer the phone. I wear a baseball cap or wide-brimmed hat and my omnipresent Atlas gloves. There is a marked reduction in bathing, my earth-stained jeans stand up on their own, I find it harder to write first thing in the morning, and I stop reading long form. I want to be deep inside my own head, not somebody else’s. The children stop shouting for me in the house because I’m not there.
Like the cat, I want to be outside as much and as early as I can. I want to build and dig, to be outside and free. If I could run away and live on the land for awhile I would. I dream of pitching my yurt and drinking in the sounds of everything and nothing, of being unsettled and delighted in the unconstrained openness that is there and not there. But for now I am in my rural village, enveloped by people and houses. I work in the yard, under a vow of silence, and imagine my cloak of invisibility. I am here and not here.
I will be outside again today until I can’t see my hand in front of my face. Then I will kiss my kids goodnight, consider bathing and slip easily into sleep.
When the sun rises the next day, so will I.