Clink… Clink, clink, clink……. Clink, clink.
I barely lift my head off my pillow to try and figure out the noise that wakes me. I strain to open my eyes and I notice a light. From the kitchen?
I hear a motor and the clinks continue. I hoist myself up on one elbow and listen again.
Ah, I finally realize. Kathy is filling her metal, insulated Yeti cup with ice and water. Today, she joins the neighborhood volunteer team that keeps our lovely medians and common areas attractive.
I look at the alarm clock. 5:10 a.m. Good for her. I have two more hours of sleep. At least.
Summer is an interesting beast in the desert, as the temps soar north of 110 and nighttime lows dip into the high 80’s. Our pools, rec centers, golf, pickleball and outdoor activities begin at 6:00 a.m. One grocery store – the one with the great donuts, opens at 5:00, others at 6:00. Outdoor noise restrictions end at 6:00 a.m. – think landscapers blowing whatever they blow and roofers using whatever tool they use that makes a lot of noise.
Everything shifts earlier in the summer here, except one thing. Me.
Qi (pronounced chee) is the “vital life force that flows through the body” according to Chinese philosophy. Kathy routinely has golf and pickleball games that start between 6:00 and 7:00. IN THE MORNING. She has clearly found her summer qi. Me? Not so much.
This past week, I tried to find it and made it to the pool before 7:00 for my workout, hoping to beat a crowd. I am such a fool. As I entered, several people passed me on the way to their cars – they were already finished. I now realize there is a rush at 6:00. IN THE MORNING, and my timing was good. While I did my workout for the first time in many months, I was able to keep an adequate distance from everyone else in the pool, and the place was abuzz with people chatting and laughing. I was alone in my thoughts and singularly focused on knowing I could take a nap later that day. And by later, I mean before lunch.
Somehow my body was wired without the strand of DNA that whispers “time to get up early Pam, and further, be in a good mood about it,” though in my defense, I worked years in jobs with 7:00 and 7:30 starts, and I was never late. But I am not in my 20’s and 30’s anymore.
Due to the spike in coronavirus here I’ll probably forgo the pool for a bit, which means I’ll have to get out for my neighborhood walk by 6:30 or so, otherwise, it’s just too darn hot.
And as I keep my eyes open for pretty cactus flowers, baby quail trying to keep up with their mamas, and lizards looking for shade under a bush, I’ll also be searching for my summer qi. The good news? These temps will stick around and I have until late September to find it. That’s not really good news, is it?
(By the way, qi is a phenomenal Scrabble word. AND you can add an s to it. Please, let our lives open up again.)