Sorry, the Morning ritual. It’s the time of day when the sun don’t shine, the eyes don’t open, the coffee is floating an aroma around the house. Two minutes. Then it will be coffee in hand, eyes open, bum on seat.
Then I remember all the other stuff that happens without brain engagement. It’s the habits that have formed over the years.
Wake up, roll onto side, groan. Glasses. Clock … oh, we don’t have a clock in the bedroom anymore. Push cover back, swing legs over the side, stretch — groan — crack those bones loud enough to echo around the room. Slip something onto feet, stagger into bathroom, wash hands and face, dry hands and face, walk out to the main living area. Dog waits by back door. Open door. Dog stands there, looking out. Turn outside light on, click fingers. Dog stands there, looking out. Huge sigh which turns into a yawn, step outside, dog follows.
Wait in the cold and dark while the dog fiddles and piddles. Come inside, make coffee (don’t ask me how this happens; it must be magic cos I have no memory of the process before I uptake the caffeine). Wait for brew. Wait for … oh, where’s my cup?
Hmmm, in the sink. Wash cup, dry cup, check if the brown stains are less. Frown. Put cup down.
Milk and sugar. Sugar? There’s none in the house. That’s right, don’t do that anymore. Hmmm, black or white?
That’s a big decision there. The first major decision of the day. White coffee means a slow wake up, gentle, a washing down of the night’s ghastly taste in the mouth. Black coffee means a heart-blaster, scouring through the mouth with a bitter foretaste and a tongue-lashing aftertaste. Sometimes, black is necessary.
The nights when the dog is restless, doesn’t sleep, cries in her sleep or has a desperate need to go outside to piddle and fiddle for bloody hours. She’s old. I get up for her, but I’m sure she translates the grumbles as growls. She does try to let us know without too much noise. A touch of the nose on a hand lying outside the covers, a soft growly sound, a tiny yip. And the clattering of her nails on the hard floor as she circles the living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, and the bedroom. It can’t be ignored, so if it’s not too bad outside the covers — which I check with a finger against the wind — I get up. If it’s after 0400 (that’s sparrow-fart, cos even sparrows aren’t out of the nest yet), I get up, do the outside thing, do my own ritual, then I sit down and write.
The best writing, the most productive hours on the pen, come from these times of the day. When I’m not fully awake.
It’s part of the ritual now, and I enjoy the days I wake the dog up from a very deep and cosy sleep to take her outside …