Eyre Affairs

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Location: New York, United States

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"The daylight came. I rose at dawn." ~ Jane Eyre

Sometimes we tend to categorize ourselves as either a morning person or a night person.

I am a morning person.

I was thinking about this as I breakfasted alone at the diner yesterday, drinking coffee, eating a short stack with over easy eggs, and reading Their Eyes Were Watching God. My mind feels more centered in the morning, and my body feels more capable of exerting itself. The quietness of the morning calms me, and the food and drink of the morning comforts me.

I don't mind waking up early for work. Sometimes I will set the alarm a little early so I can lie in bed and watch the rich, blue light enter my bedroom.

Sarah McLaughlin's lyrics to her song Answer address the feelings of peace after a difficult night: Cast me gently into morning, for the night has been unkind. There have been many unkind nights in my life, but very few unkind mornings.

Many of my favorite memories lie in the hours of the morning...

*Early Christmas morning during my childhood, is, of course, a favorite morning. My sisters and I were always up before dawn. To satiate us, my parents would leave little items in the stockings we had in our room, but knowing those were there only made us rise earlier. I remember one specific Christmas morning I was up around 5am. Robin still slept, as did my parents, but Missy and I were up. We both crept to the landing of the spiral staircase, peeking down towards what was underneath the Christmas tree. It would be at least three more hours before we all sat as a family to open gifts. I camped out in Missy's room for the rest of the morning; I remember talking in whispers and eventually taking a catnap next to her as the room filled with the deep blue light I love so much.

*My father used to take my twin and I out to breakfast at Friendly's every Saturday morning when we were young. Like clockwork, my Grandpa Krikor would meet us at the same time. It was actually all very secretive. If my grandma found out that we were eating out and not in her dining room, there could be trouble. So, he made the excuse of taking a walk, since Friendly's wasn't far, and would just coincidently meet us. Our usual table was in the back corner, and I remember always ordering chocolate milk and sitting right across from my grandpa. My grandpa and my father would be talking to each other while Robin and I blew straw wrappers at each other and poured mounds of syrup over our pancakes.

*This past summer, I arrived at summer rec ten minutes early so I could sit with my coffee for five minutes before my Kindergarteners came in. The minute the clock indicated 9:30am, my babies would enter and my entire morning was made by their smiles and reports, such as lost teeth and the like. I was given books to read, backpacks to open, and notes from mommies. I would get hugs and homemade pictures, and once I even got a a dead aunt from Hallie who thought it was a cool present for a teacher. I got their tears, too. Some mornings were tough on the few that missed their mom. Right now I miss them, especially Hallie and Christopher.

*Going to the beach by myself on early summer mornings is a pleasurable experience for me. The hair immediately gets braided, the bikini is put on, lotion is applied, beach bag is packed with a towel, a bottle of water, the newspaper, and a book, and I place my pink scrubs and black hoodie on me to protect me from the cool breezes on the shore as the sun rises. En route to Nickerson Beach, I pick up coffee and then arrive to the almost-deserted beachfront. Grabbing my popsicle chair from the trunk, I walk down to the shore. Its a long walk, but each step closer to the ocean gives me more energy, not less. There is no one there aside from a few runners; even the lifeguards have not arrived. I sit down and just stare at the water for a long time, reveling in the solitude.

*No moment is better for a teacher than when the phone rings at 4am with a colleague on the other end of the line informing you that it is a Snow Day. Snow Day mornings are pure delight. Once the call is over, it takes a while for me to fall back asleep; too much excitement! I peek out the window to see the mounds of white snow all over my stoop. Then I putter around my apartment, checking email and drinking juice, until finally I wind up back in bed to sleep for another few hours. If the storm continues all morning, I stay in my pajamas and celebrate with sipping mug after mug of hot cocoa, eating waffles for breakfast, watching Lifetime for women on tv, reading back copies of Everyday Food, and making phone calls to every one else who is home. I don't think about the afternoon: the time when I will have to shovel and clean my car. Nope, the Snow Day Morning is for guilty pleasures.

*Mornings in Sag Harbor were beautiful. It saddens me to say were, but I don't think the house will stay in Sarah's family past this upcoming spring. What I love the most about the mornings there is that everything is quiet. The only sounds come from the cove. Coffee is sipped in silence, and the newspaper is read in silence. Sometimes there is dialogue here and there about what is in the paper, but most of the time it is peaceful and serene. There are no need for words on such mornings; no words can do the view of the cove from the backyard any justice. The mornings when Rita was there were most special, especially the morning she made her famous eggs in a basket. The mornings were a time of anticipation for the rest of the day - all special. The afternoons either at the beach, boating, going wine tasting, shopping, drinking beer, eating guacamole (or crackamole as Sarah called it because it was so addictive) and dinner preparations were all great morning thoughts.