Morning light trickled through the edges of the curtains that covered my window. The sun wasn’t completely up and so the light was shy and hesitant. It didn’t—and in fact it couldn’t—wake me.
The alarm that did wake me was punctual, relentless and, of course, loud. The moment I woke, I felt a brief moment of intense resentment toward my past self. Once that moment subsided, my brain accepted that I was awake and I clumsily sat up. While my alarm still buzzed relentlessly, my hands instinctively fumbled around my nightstand and found my phone. I brought the screen up close to my face—I wasn’t yet wearing my glasses—and swiped the blue circle to the left. The intrusive buzzing immediately stopped and I was left with a silence that felt all too real in contrast.
I sat on the bedside in a room filled with empty silence and sparsely lit by reticent sunlight. I put the phone down on the bed next to me and let my head rest in my hands. My body was going to need another minute to accept that I wasn’t going back to sleep. While I sat, my brain tried to get me to lie back down by pointing things out to me.
The air is cold, it said. You should get under the blanket.
You’re just sitting here anyway, it said. You might as well lie down while you’re here.
It’s still early, it said. The sun is barely up. Go back to sleep.
That last one was a lie and we both knew it. It wasn’t early, just the time of year when the sunrise comes a little later every day. To some degree, all humans are uncomfortable with things that change slowly. I guess we’re just programmed to latch on to whatever patterns or consistencies we find. If something changes slowly enough that we don’t perceive the change on a daily basis, we freak out because we assumed it wasn’t changing. I wasn’t really going anywhere with this but I hope you get the idea.
Anyway, the next thing I had to do was stand up and start my day. Once my body is on board with getting up, this part is more like going though the motions than any other. Almost automatically, I stood up, put on my glasses and walked to the window. I opened the curtains, letting in what little sunlight late October had to offer. At least, by virtue of being on the fourth floor of my building, there was sunlight to be had. It would be hours before anyone at ground level would see the sun.
The view was also nice and I gave myself a moment to take it in. I could see the river and the trail that went along the bank. On the trail were joggers, most of whom were wearing their winter gear. I managed to spot one guy who was still running in shorts. This was hopefully a sign that it wasn’t too cold out yet. Either that or the guy was just insane. The rest of the city beyond the trail was a smattering of rooftops, trees and roads, extending as far as I could see.
One of the reasons I could see so much at this time of year was that the trees had already lost most of their leaves. Most people seem to find leafless trees to be creepy or something. You know, like in horror stories. I don’t really understand it, having always lived in places where winter happens—I mean really happens. The trees just don’t have leaves for half the year and that’s how it is. I guess those stories all come from places where trees only lose their leaves when their dead. These are probably the same places that normalize a consistent daily sunrise time.
This is probably an unpopular opinion but I like fall and winter. I like the bare trees, I like the white landscape and I like the cold.