3:28 AM to be exact. I never can decide if I am an early bird or a night owl. I find rare and sweet moments in both. Friday morning was to be no exception.
I had fallen asleep at the computer...again. I have a chair-a stylish black leather and chrome piece-which is likely more comfortable than a wannabe writer's chair should be. It would best be described as a reading chair, as I read there far more than I write, and have frequently begun a writing task there but likely never finish it. It swivels. It reclines. It has a footstool. And many times is more inviting than the king-size bed just across the room. I'll set the iTunes player on shuffle, place the keyboard on my lap, and I'm set. Many of my entries are written in this setting, and in this condition of being wide asleep.
Having dozed-off at what I'm guessing was around 8:30 the night before, I awoke surprisingly well rested. Going to the bed at this early hour would be absurd. So I got up and started my day: Sweats, t-shirt, hooded sweatshirt, an off-brand iPod strapped to my upper left arm and I was out the door for a one hour walk, with my fashionably red police-sized MAG LITE in hand.
Not a sign of dawn on the east horizon. Not a trace of a late-stage moon. Above me, only brilliant infinity. The celestial bodies glistened uncommon radiance that morning. Twinkling a quicker tempo than I usually notice. And the deeper into the darkened golf course I walked, the more mesmerizing it became. I felt like I was walking into space. Just enough light reflected from the stars for me to visualize the blacktop golf cart trails I walked upon, so use of the flashlight was minimal. Besides, I couldn't seem to take my eyes off of the amazing sight above.
I thought I might get a glimpse of the space shuttle passing by, but no. I suppose the sun was at too low an angle. However several planes dotted the north sky, oddly, all travelling to the West and all precisely spaced from each other. Odd to me, until I recalled several early mornings just like this when I lived in Memphis. It is at this moment above the Memphis sky, that scores of jumbo jets make their Westward exodus from MEM. I would often witness this from my 17th floor balcony in Bellevue Tower.
It was then that I realized that these planes I was watching carried only crew... and freight. FedEx planes. I imagined them stuffed to the gills with Christmas packages-boxes of Love-all making their way across the face of this tiny floating orb of matter. At that given moment, I could see four planes. I chose a destination for each of them: Oklahoma City. Salt Lake City. San Francisco. Tokyo. Corny yes, but something I've done since I was a child was to guess a plane's city of departure and it's destination. Just for the fun of it.
My generic iPod was shuffling through songs by Dirty Vegas, Telepopmusik, Moby, Depeche Mode & Queer As Folk-Season 4 Soundtrack. Every song sounded SO fabulous. It seemed that this playlist had been intended solely for an early morning, star-gazing stroll. More precisely, for THIS morning and for THIS moment. Cosmic, I tell ya! I felt the pulse of my very being was in beat with the pulse of the whole Universe, and that I was the only human priveledged to enjoy this wonderous moment.
I neared the turning point in my journey as my northerly direction slowly began to curve to the east. Belvedere's golf course has about two miles of frontage on Arkansas Highway 7, and it was there that I realized I shared this slice of time with others, as a Coleman Dairy truck whirred by on it's early delivery run, followed soon by an even longer and louder Budweiser truck. But I knew in my heart that these drivers did not have the chance to observe the wonders taking place above us.
All of the FedEx planes had passed over the horizon now. Not a plane in sight.
Halfway into my hour long walk, I noticed the unusually calm water hazard on the 3rd fairway. A medium-sized pond with gently sloping banks, I found myself at the water's edge to look upon it's face. No wind. Not a ripple on it's surface. It appeared to be a port into another world. Each and every detail of the sky above shown on the watery mirror at my feet. It gave the impression one would fall into the sky below if one were to step into it. What wonder and amazement! I was feeling as if I was seeing it all again through a child's eyes.
One final hill laid before me. That was all that separated me from my front door. The walk, the sights, the emotional experience I had just lived recharged my soul. I felt more alive than I had in weeks, and if anyone awake had the ability to see in the dark, they would have witnessed a free-spirited lip-synching walker making their way back home, eager to live.this.day.
Just steps away from my front door, I spied a plane in the sky to the south-southwest. It was headed to the northeast and being quite low, I immediately made my assesment:
Departed Houston-Arriving Little Rock.
I stepped inside my condo, looking forward now to the damp warmth of a well-earned shower, and to the remains of this day.