It is 3:52 AM on Thursday, October 19th, 2023.
It has been a while since I’ve written this early. I’m up on the 2nd story in my reading nook at the standing desk overlooking the street. I love this time of night when it is silent except for the crickets outside and my fish tank air pump inside. There is also random beeps coming from my neighbor’s chicken coop. Apparently the battery for the door won’t charge and so I’ll have to put up with beeps until he fixes it.
The very early morning is a magical time for me. During high school I used to work maintenance on a golf course and we had to report at 4:30 or 5 AM, I cannot remember which. I started the job even before I had my license and will always remember feeling like I was the only living thing in the world that was awake except for the robins and their loud chirping. The alarm would go off, I’d curse my life, roll out of bed and quickly put on shorts or jeans, my maintenance t-shirt and work boots which required a steel toe. I began the job before I had my driver’s license and so had to walk.
This was the summer around my sophomore year of high school and I remember hanging out with some kids who smoked. Well, I tried it a little bit that year and remember the taste of tobacco, with a hint of lighter fluid on that first drag. Then the strange feeling would come reserved for those who are trying smoking for the first time. Fortunately, I didn’t keep smoking and stopped before my junior year started.
It was these early years that formed my special relationship with the very early morning. Here I am again, in silence with my old friend the very early morning. It has not changed but I am thirty years older. I’m no longer the kid in work boots walking through the dew drenched grass of a golf course dreading another 8 hour day of hard manual labor with the only joy being cigarettes and lunch. Instead I’m just passed midlife with a family and will spend today using my head instead of my muscles for the workday. I don’t really look forward to anything but am currently trying to rediscover my motivation for the gym.
This morning both of my shoulders are sore from the COVID booster and flu shot. I don’t have time to be sick and so get both these days. I’m still shocked at how society reacted to the COVID vaccine and wearing masks especially when so many people died. I was already very disappointed in adults since I thought they were so smart as a kid and learned otherwise becoming an adult myself. Now with COVID I’m even more disappointed and even a bit sad. And the backlash against masks were also very surprising. I never thought that people I even know personally could be so selfish and stupid to refuse wearing a mask when it could literally save the lives of other people. At 46, I’ve learned that with the exception of a few bright spots, humans on the overall are extremely disappointing and primitive.
The news in my life is that I’ve recently had to spend a lot of money on a new roof, solar panels and replacing the water heater and HVAC. Nothing is ever cheap here in California and it is shocking to see the money drain so quickly from an account. Add to that property tax which the county never seems able to send in a reasonable amount of time before it is due. San Mateo County did it again this year with me receiving the bill yesterday and the first portion being due in two weeks. The amount was also raised a few hundred dollars even though the value of the home has gone down slightly. Criminals.
The good news is that with solar and switching my HVAC and water heater from gas to a heat pump/electric I’ll be able to save between $300 and $500 a month with that amount increasing over time. To my knowledge the amount of times PG&E has reduced their prices is never.
Anyway, this morning is particularly special because it is already warm which isn’t usually the case here on the coast although with global warming has been changing. We now get many hot days per year when that wasn’t the case just ten years ago. If you do not need a jacket in the early morning in Pacifica then you know it will be a particularly warm day.
As I look up at the sky I can only see a few of the brightest stars due to the light pollution all around the Bay Area. It is a real shame that so much of humanity can no longer see the milky way. I have only seen it once in my life when in Death Valley and it was certainly awe inspiring. Although I cannot see much of the stars I’m grateful for the silence.
It is now 4:32 AM and I now hear a car or two in the distance. The world is starting to wake up and my old friend the very early morning is slowly giving way to another frantic day filled with noise, distraction and frenzied activity much of which really serves very little purpose. The sound of the crickets and ocean fade while the noise of cars, busses and horns increase. The beautiful darkness is chased away over the Pacific ocean by a strengthening light making its appearance over the small mountains to the east.
I’ll soon no longer be able to hear myself as clearly. In the very early morning it is as though I can connect directly with my soul, remember who I am and what my life is. This strong connection gets drowned out by the noise and distraction of the day. In the very early morning I can understand myself in crystal clear 4K reception, but during the day the interference of all the distraction and activity causes too much static and I run on autopilot.
Well, the first three cars of the morning have passed by and the frequency will only increase from here. I feel a bit sorry for those poor souls who must drive to work at this hour. I wonder where they are going, how far they have to go and when they can return? I’ve worked from home for over 15 years with ventures outside to be quick visits to customers. I can no longer imagine what it must be like to have to report to a specific location and stay there for eight hours everyday. That sounds terrible to me now and I actually turned down a job which offered $50K more because they required office days three times a week.
The time is now 4:48 and I should get another hour of sleep so I’m not tired during the day. I’m not feeling particularly well given both the flu and COVID vaccines yesterday.