The light always wakes me. I usually ignore it, choosing rather to fall back into the dark deepness of sleep. And I usually regret the decision made in the initial haze of the day. The unfortunate outcome is, later, the heat and the painful fog of over-sleeping are what get me to rise, along with an obligation to get up and make a feeble attempt at doing something with the day, or otherwise submit to the failure already half-begun.
However, this morning I let the light conquer dark, conquer heat, conquer sleep, and conquer later obligation. Perhaps it is because of their rarity to my eyes, but I actually prefer sunrises to sunsets. Instead of bidding farewell to the sun as it lowers itself into the horizon, we say “Good morning” to the Earth, which it is now illuminating. The Earth responds by blushing pink in her puffy cloud-cheeks. The birds are awakened, like me, but they’re moved to singing by this daily entrance. I doubt my neighbors would be as charmed if I had the same response.
Here, at this particularly special time, at least to my eyes, the waters in the bay are especially calm. The ripples from passing fishing boats are consistent, uninterrupted by tourist snorkelers or floating pot-belly-up expats. The one ship sitting center in the distance just turned off its green-hued lights that shine toward shore at night. Perhaps just now it is officially morning. Although I tend to rely more on the rooster’s crow I heard earlier and am hearing now with more frequency.
What does one do at this hour? I’m three-quarters tempted to crawl back into bed with this sense of accomplishment I’ve so early achieved today.
The crickets are still chirping, as they always do in the between times. I am inclined to create and align a routine with theirs, at dawn and dusk, to write when I am taken by romantic transitions.
Writer’s Note: Two nights ago, I realized I’ve lost the ability to hear the frequency of a cricket’s chirp in my right ear. I haven’t determined whether this simply gives me a more peaceful sleep when I rest on my left side or if the fact that I’ve lost some of my hearing is outright disorienting and upsetting. What else am I not able to hear?
It took us 17 1/2 hours to get here.
The train ride over brought dramatically cooler temperatures and unexpectedly at that. Shivering on stiff, grimy train berths is not conducive to sleep, so I stood at the open doors instead, with a lavender scarf wrapped tightly around my now tropically acclimatized body and donning the burgundy beanie I so foresightedly packed. The stars and fluorescently lined village streets passed by with varying quickness. Men stooped low to the ground, working their muscles to change our steel beast’s course. No automation here; manual labor has not been forsaken. My feet, nearly black with Kochin dirt, accepted bare contact with the train’s diamond pattern metal floors, a surrender to all the bare feet laid there before, unbegrudgingly. I think of all those feet and all the streets and dirt lanes they’ve touched, shoes as a frivolous luxury.
At night, the countryside of India lies quiet. Fields of rice conjoined to the distant silhouette of the Western Ghats were ever so briefly illuminated by the passing light of our rattling train compartment, and just as quickly they faded back to the black, reunited with their formidable brother mountains. As we crossed over waters, the lamp from a single fisherman’s boat caught my eye and I watched, until it passed out of sight, his early morning routine.