Falling Asleep at Dawn

I fell asleep at dawn today, an alluring habit I try to resist, yet despite all of the health consequences lying in bed, watching the sunrise through the slats in the window-shade, continues to be one of my favorite things to do.

There’s something wonderful about watching a new day break and being one of the only people to witness it. Everyone else is still sleepy, foggy with lethargy still, but me, I’m alert. I’ve been busy, moving about, doing things while everyone else rested.

And of course it’s silly. I’ll be sleeping as they do their morning things, take their dogs for walks, sip coffee, drive to work. But they don’t get to operate in the same sort of secret, they don’t get to surprise people with what they’ve been doing.

“Yeah, I cleaned the kitchen and reorganized the magazines. Pretty cool, huh?” I can say and you’ll look around the house and be impressed by all I did while you were asleep. The wonderful deception of the night sliding by quickly when the only thing you’re doing is staring at the backs of your eyelids makes it look like I did the work in the blink of an eye, rather than doing the dishes with as much spite and anger towards the grime as possible and dragging the task on for over an hour. The nasty process gets to be hidden, jammed into the hall closet, under the bin of hats and gloves, and the final product shines. I am capable of magical perfection.

But it’s not just the pride and anticipation of pleasing others that makes falling asleep at dawn so lovely. It’s the joy of lying, swathed in new, fresh light. It feels gentle and easy, the aggression and uncertainty of darkness is being steadily replaced. I don’t have to doubt what’s hiding in the corner or whether I locked the back door. Things feel innocent and pure, nothing can go wrong, I am totally safe, and all I need to do is close my eyes and focus on my breath until I slip away.

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