Jet Lag

Woke up unusually early, six o’clock or so, the happy accident of light jet lag.

Shower, teeth, fold the laundry I left in the dryer the night before. It’s still dark out, dawn is an hour away, and the wind is rolling in hard, preceding the sun. It sounds like surf, but not confined to the hearth of a beach. It’s all around, louder, sporadic, and as a result more mesmerizing than the ocean.

Right after waking up, or even way after, it’s rare for me to be able to focus. In the morning I’m typically distracted by grogginess, thrashing against the temptation to go back to sleep and attempts to do things before my flywheel has begun to spin. Later in the day, I tend to tweak out, burnt on too much caffeine and not enough exercise, the channels constantly changing in my mind, craving instead of fulfilling.

But not this morning.

I ride my bike to a coffee shop about a mile from my Boulder apartment. Muted color is flushing into the hills and Flatirons – dusk in reverse – and that wind and its cold are refreshing. As I rode, I wished I had a scarf and then laughed at myself because I just wished I had a scarf. It’s late October. Another season and its change is as invigorating as the wind but in a different way, at a different scale. The surprise of a predictable season is a reason to live.

Now I’m at the nearly empty coffee shop. No one is walking the mall. Inside, there’s high ceilings, brick walls, wooden fixtures and floors, and five-bladed ceiling fans that lazily push around the barely-on duct-heating. Of the handful of people here, no one is talking, and I’m sitting by the window using two hands to sip on a shallow teacup, filled to the brim with coffee and cream, as the increasing light starts to normalize the magic outside.

The only noises are the barista and her queue creaking the scratched up floorboards as they otherwise silently work, and – it’s Boulder – meditation bells on the house stereo. Normally I’d roll my eyes, but given the context the music seems appropriate instead of ostentatious.

Time passes.

The sun is up, the coffee shop begins to fill, people are eating pastries, and conversation overpowers the subtler sounds. The moment has evaporated, replaced by something else pleasant but more common.

I let go, happy, and reopen the book I closed to write this.