Thursday, March 09, 2006

Good Morning

It didn't start out auspiciously: the alarm went off at 4:30 a.m.

Ash is off to the Moot Court competition, and I'd agreed to take him and his partner to the airport for their very early flight. Neither of us wanted to get out of bed at all, but Ash dragged himself out from under the heavy duvet. I went back to sleep, given that I didn't need to shower and put on a suit before leaving. The next thing I knew, Ash was calling my name and it was already 5:30. I dressed and brushed my teeth quickly, and in only 15 minutes, we were rolling out the door.

Turning onto the main street by Ash's place, wheels zzzzzisssshing on the pavement still wet from overnight rain, that same strange, melancholy joy I always feel when I'm out and about at this time of the morning washed over me in a wave. I hate to get up so early, but I love to be out in a city that's still mostly asleep. Things are calm and quiet, but not in the frozen way of 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. Somewhere in the short span between "the middle of the night" and "the crack of dawn" is a magic realm.

As we climbed the hill, heading toward the airport, the sun started to peek over the horizon. It was still overcast and misting, so there was no real moment of sunrise, just a gradual lightening of the sky. By the time I'd waved Ash and his partner off at the airport, it was full daylight, and my stomach was growling.

I pulled into the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel and found it nearly empty. Inside, it was quiet and clean and I was seated right away, with a cup of hot coffee appearing nearly simultaneously. Only three other parties were there, and the manager had built a large fire in the fireplace at the front of the room. That surprised me-- I'd always assumed that it was decorative, not functional. He came by every now and again and stoked it, so that it crackled merrily and smelled perfectly lovely. I ate and read my book for a while, enjoying the hot coffee and crunchy bacon. The soft hum of conversations wasn't enough to drown out the crackling of the fire. It was cozy and warm and not at all what one thinks of when one thinks "Breakfast at the Cracker Barrel".



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