Mornings

February 11, 2009

Mornings begin with a cup of tea.

Actually, they begin with me stumbling into the bathroom and then sort of standing in there, lost, until my brain kicks into gear.  And then I do whatever it was that I came in there to do, and then walk past my peacefully sleeping wife (she works from home, and gets to sleep in) into the other room of our apartment.  There, I set the water to boil, and do my morning exercises.

Then I have my tea, which is when the morning really gets going.  I’ll sip it with a few pieces of toast or some cereal (I can never stomach much for breakfast) while reading first a morning meditation by Frederick Buechner (who is wonderful, by the way), and then afterward my daily dose of webcomics.  Then I’ll reluctantly get up, and pack my lunch, stuff my work clothes into my bag, brush my teeth, and then walk back into the bedroom to say goodbye to my wife.  After a few kisses and promises “be safe on my bike”, I grab my helmet, pick up my bike, and I’m out the door into the shock of the cold morning air.

It always freezing that first minute or so, pumping away on the bike with the wind burning past my knuckles, until my blood gets flowing.  And then I’m peacefully on my way.  Past the old wooden fence, which on particularly cold mornings releases these incredible clouds of steam as the sun hits it.  Past the little patches of frost on the grass, proof that it does get below freezing in Santa Barbara.  Past the old Asian couple, always out this early in the morning getting pulled along by their fuzzy Shi-Tzu.  Over the old wooden bridge, its thin layer of frost already scarred this early by so many bikes.  Getting passed by far too many Lycra-clad road bikers on their zippy toothpicks of gleaming aluminum.  Past the little marsh, with its “Protected Wildlife Area” sign.  Over the first little hill, onto Goleta Beach, and suddenly the gasp of the wide Pacific is in front of me, clear and blue and deep, and the Channel Islands, crouching on the horizon like ancient sleeping giants.  And then, finally, up the ridiculously steep hill onto campus, gasping, then on the UCSB bike highway, deserted this early, and up to the library.

Where I will stride in, say a cheery good morning to those already there, and go to the bathroom and change.

It’s a good morning to be alive in Goleta, CA.

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