Rubbing my sleep-starved eyes I stretch my arm out to silence the monotonous tone of my alarm clock. I am eager to rise early and witness the new light. A gift from time’s forwarded, sixty-minute tick. Pyjama clad and double wrapped in an oversized, fleece onesie I tread carefully down the stairs. Other house occupants are still sleep and I want to claim this precious time for me. The keys jangle loudly in the lock of the backdoor as I turn them. My face crinkles as I hold my breath. I wait for somebody to stir but no one does.
I open the door and am hit by the fresh scent of a day awakening. I stop. I pause. I Look out past the shed setting my focus deep into the garden. I notice the fading, bowed heads of the snowdrops as they curve along the stepping-stone path. I pay attention to the purple, white, lilac and yellow crocuses as they poke their heads up through the winter rested soil. I sense their longing for bright daffodil trumpets to proclaim their calls for new beginnings.
The chilled air tickles the tiny hairs in my nostrils as I inhale the early morning mist. I step out barefoot onto the frosted grass. I exhale briskly through clenched teeth as a piercing chill shivers up my spine from feet to head. This temporary discomfort is softened by the performance of blackbirds and robins staging their dawn chorus. I also hear the wood pigeons repetitive cooing and find it hypnotic in this environment. It’s a welcome relief to join them rather than curse them for perching on the ledge right outside my bedroom window. I walk to the wall at the bottom of the garden and whistle a poor imitation of the multiple bird calls.
As my feet turn numb I clumsily retrace my steps towards the house. Inside I flick on the kettle and prepare my ‘Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate’ mug before drying my feet. I put on my warmest fluffy socks. The increasing burble of the kettle reaches its climax as thick steam exits from the spout. I pour the boiling water through the plastic mug filter onto my favourite ground coffee. The kitchen fills with its aroma and my hands warm up as I carry the mug to the dining area. I sit at the empty wooden table and sigh. I reach for my book and gently open the cover, ready to devour it’s pages.
A door clicks upstairs. Footsteps tread towards the bathroom above me. I hear the urgent flow of morning pee escape from a now awoken boy. A flush. A running tap. A door click. Footsteps on the stairs. They are getting closer.
‘Mum? Mum? Mum is breakfast ready?’ a teenage voice calls out.
I lay down my book. I take a deep breath. Today I am grateful for that short piece of early morning calm.