Monday, September 08, 2008

The morning person

I am not a morning person. At all. For the last month, though, I have been jostled awake by my husband and son. A shake of the toe, the thundering screech of the alarm clock, the smell of the espresso dripping...eventually I stagger out of bed and get my swimsuit on. Our local high school pool is only ten minutes away, and we join a handful of other faithful folks to swim laps back and forth and back and forth.

I have to decide the night before that I will absolutely-without-fail get up in the morning to swim. When the wake-up nudges begin at 5:00, I am convinced that swimming is the dumbest idea in the world. It's not exactly cold in the morning, but it sure isn't warm. It's dark, pitch dark, and my husband is so chatty and cheerful. Even as I stand at the edge of the pool, even when I jump in and start swimming, I continue to be convinced that getting in a pool at 5:30 a.m. is a ridiculous way to start the day.

What a difference a lap makes. After only a minute in the pool, I am thrilled to be there. Lap after lap, the exercise is both vigorous and relaxing, and my disposition improves with each turn of my arms. Suddenly, I can see and enjoy the people around me, I notice the sun rising up behind the oak trees, and the silhouette of geese in the almost-morning sky brings a smile to my face.

By the time we get out, dry off, poor the espresso from the thermos, and begin the drive home, I am cheery and motivated. I think things like, "Why haven't I been doing this for years? EVERYONE should swim at 5:30 in the morning. It is the ONLY way to live."

And then the next morning, when the hand grabs at my foot and pulls it from the deep, dark of sleep, I begin the cycle all over again. Grumble, grumble, doubt, doubt, dread, dread ... heaven. I realized at some point that I just have to ignore myself until I get to the heaven part.

Not a bad life lesson.

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