5:42 a.m.

In the window of a corner top-floor apartment across the street, a blue glow flickers as someone lies in bed watching the morning news. Or maybe they fell asleep with the television on after the late shift. Or maybe they have a lava lamp. The mind wanders…

The Today Show hasn't even started, and this morning, I'll watch the sky lighten through Starbucks' tall glass windows.

My eyes fluttered open at 5:30 a.m., and I decided not to fight it. Even now, as I write this at 6:45, there's more than an hour until my alarm was set to go off. Waking up has been a struggle lately. It's not that I'm depressed; it's more that I don't have any reason to get out of bed.

Before bed last night, I finished reading a book called Life After God, by Douglas Coupland. It was a glorious little collection of short stories, but I was particularly struck by the ending. In the final pages, the central character wakes to find himself wrapped in a blanket, still wearing his business suit, lying in a tent in the middle of the Canadian rainforest. It's the darkest, most remote place he can think of — he's driven himself, without even realizing where he was going, to the end of everything to find a beginning.

He strips down to nothing and looks at his skin, grey from lack of sun and lack of joy, and plunges into an ice-cold pool of fresh water. A baptism.

 

I don't know. Maybe something I read helped me remember that discovery is a huge part of what I love about life. Little things. And the joy of watching the world wake up has never been lost on me entirely.

 

A parade of construction workers walks by, neon-yellow reflective vests under their Carhartts and hoodies, their eyes barely open, clutching their thermal coffee mugs and lunch pails. One of them came in to Starbucks and ordered a Frappuccino.

I feel vaguely envious that, after eight hours on the job, these men can look up at the brick structure as they walk away and say, "I built that."

 

The streets glisten from the persistent sprinkles that promise to turn into steady showers as the morning wears on. The weather report says it'll be a cold, gloomy day to be working outside, but morning darkness is different from evening darkness, and the sky just before sunrise is full of possibility — it's a bright, steely nothing color that hasn't yet decided whether to be grey or blue.