The Morning Fall

A special thank you to guest writer Dr. Lucenta.


This morning I woke up not wanting to wake up. That feeling used to happen to me every day, but not so often anymore. I laid in bed watching the sun slowly rising. My dog suddenly jumped out of bed, which is unusual. Usually, I have to steer the ship in our morning routine. He went near the door and started to get sick. A thick yellow bile came out of his stomach and formed a near perfect circle on the floor. I rolled around in bed. This was further evidence the world did not want me to get up this morning. Finally, I arose. I put on my wool socks and wind pants. It looked like a beautiful day, sunny, and warmer than yesterday, but pants would still be a necessity. I worked my way down the wooden stairs, across the shiny hardwood floor to the kitchen. I prepared myself some coffee and had a sip of kombucha. There were so many unfinished chores from the prior day, from the prior week. I scurried to finish these tasks, laundry, dishes, all the while sipping my hot coffee. It was close to nine before I got out to feed the animals. Bella, the goat, greeted me with excitement. While the ponies neighed, I am never sure if they are excited to see me, or excited for food, or both. I gave them their daily vitamins and their twice a day flakes of hay. Bella clung to me, letting me pet her, when she does this it makes me feel special, it makes me smile. After the animals were fed, I felt ready to start my work for the day.

It was the first morning all week I didn’t wake up in cold sweat, shivering, my clothes and sheets soaked through. Even though my first thought, straying from the dream where it should have stayed, was “three years,” the day was incrementally better because I wouldn’t have to rewash my bedding again. I didn’t linger too long; I had slept in as I have for the past few weeks. Unproductive mornings, which is so not me. I hit the button to grind coffee into the new gadget he bought me. A rather large, messy thing that requires the counter to be constantly wiped down. Poured raspberries and yogurt into a bowl that disappeared in minutes. At least I’m getting my appetite back. I couldn’t be bothered to do much else, so I poured myself a cup of coffee and wrapped myself in a blanket and read for an hour before I begrudgingly dragged myself into the shower. When time and thoughts are heavy, I move slower. So I was late for work.

This morning it was easier for me to wake up, even though the wind was howling through the window panes. The sky was dark and cloudy. My mind was not as much. I opened my eyes and reached for my phone to see the time. 7:30 A.M. I put my phone back down and closed my eyes. A fly landed on me, I swatted it away. Thoughts of Bella crossed my mind. I wondered if she was warm. I was excited to see her. Since I have been back from LA I have felt a renewed love between us. But I will protect my heart as my friend warns me to do. I rolled over again and made eye contact with my dog. He gave me a look that acknowledged I was still there, still alive, and still probably going to feed him. I put pants and a sweater on and went down to the kitchen. I started to heat up water to make my coffee and turned on public radio. I didn’t catch the name of the show but the broadcaster was talking about Trump’s tax plan and how it was bound to be a failure, a pattern Trump has had. There were republicans calling in, defending him in a civil way. Nobody was clear on the details of this plan, but it was assumed it benefit the rich, as it has always in the past. I fed the animals, and now look outside eating my yogurt from the local cows, watching two cardinals play in the wind.

Today was different because I was leaving. Bound for Portland, a reunion with old friends. Friends who know me because we witnessed each other grow up. Understand each other’s biggest mistakes and create a space where there is no fear of judgment. I had been suppressing myself, forgot who I was. How did I go on for so long, not allowing my thoughts and ideas to flow out like clear, rushing water in a stream? Pure. Unfiltered. Sometimes cold, mostly warm, enveloping. I want my words to pour over people who listen with love, interest, and respect. And I want to do the same for them. Be where it matters, makes sense. Soak in the connections that I crave. I actually went for a run outside on this wintery morning, the sun only just starting to rise. My body ached after so many days, weeks of too much alcohol and not enough exercise. And it felt great. I leaned forward into the wind, felt my lungs tighten with the rush of cold air and was reminded that I’m alive, like when I bleed and realize once again that I exist outside myself. A reminder of being real. I finished four miles, smiled. Today would be a day when I wouldn’t cry, not even once.

Chaos! Mayhem! People stirring awake at 6 a.m. “Shots,” someone shouts. And the shenanigans start to ensue. I cannot partake, not yet. What’s in God’s name is wrong with these crazy friends of mine!? I never fully fall back asleep. I can hear the chatter in the background. Perhaps I slept a little without knowing, floating somewhere between sleep and reality. Their voices fade in and out of my dreams. I think of Georgia O’Keeffe. Focus on smelling her abstract white roses. Fall into the soft petals of orange, red and yellow. It almost works. Daniel rolls over, slightly waking. “I am dreaming of Georgia O’Keeffe,” I tell him. “Don’t think of the skulls. Skulls and flowers, she painted. Skulls and flowers,” and then he drifts back into deep sleep. I am so jealous. At 8, I give up and make my way to the living people and rally the crew to embrace the day, to get coffee. Coffee before wine is needed to start this right.

I woke up hoping he would be breathing. I looked at the end of the bed, he was. I felt relief. Before I fell asleep I had experienced an ethical dilemma of whether or not I should take him to the doctor. The fact that it was late and forty-five minutes away won the argument. I got up, went to the bathroom, then returned to my room to throw some clothes on. I left him on the bed while I went to make some coffee and sort myself out. I made my coffee and poured it into my green thermos. I enjoy sipping coffee over a longer period of time throughout the morning. I gathered my outdoor clothing near the front door so I could easily take him outside. Walking up the shiny wooden stairs I was on autopilot hoping to make a class at 11 am that morning. I picked him up and carried him down the stairs, it was not clear today whether he could walk but he didn’t wince when I picked him up which was an improvement. Opening the door into the crisp, blustery fall day, I imagined the mysteries that lie ahead.

Today I woke up in a haze in my clothes from the evening before. A night of painting, fungus, booze, and herbs, I was spent. Since I already had clothes on, no need to put more on. I stumbled down the stairs and made my way to the kitchen where I poured a glass of apple cider. When I feel this way I do not feel like coffee, even though coffee was what I needed the most. I made my way out to the barn. Bella was distant. I could not blame her because of the night before. I knew her attitude would blow over eventually. The sun was shining, it was a beautiful fall day. A rare one. Pumpkin pancakes were on the horizon, so I set off to chase them down.

So deliriously happy. So feeling myself again. So soaking in the moments. Remembering who I am this morning. I understand there is still a lot of pain to work through, but it doesn’t mean I don’t keep living while I salvage the past. I am not my past. My past is a part of me. And it is so important to me. All the emotions have been exchanged in a short 36 hours. I have cried and laughed. So much laughter. Smiling now. I am smiling. Short entry but a sweet one.

This morning I awoke to feel much better than the day before, and in pajamas. I got up to use the bathroom and came back to lay down next to him. It is a challenge to get out of bed some mornings because I love to lay next to him so much. We worked our way downstairs for some coffee and breakfast. I heated up the water and then prepared his daily dose of peanut butter. My least favorite part of the peanut butter is how sticky it is on my fingers. It feels slimy for a moment when you wash it off your fingers as well. The wind is blowing today making it chilly, but the sun is out. The trees dance in the wind, beckoning me to come join them. I put my shoes, gloves, and hat on and made my way out to the barn. I found Miracle inside, which is unusual. My guess is that she was hunting for food. My heart warmed when I saw Bella, she was happy to see me. After feeding everyone I made myself some yogurt and watched the screaming blue bird from my window.

Hungover. As was expected. Everyone has left Portland. Daniel and I fall in and out of sleep and conversation. I take it all in. The relaxation, the comfortability, the connection that can never be lost. It is a morning of nothing, but a morning of so much more. I nearly forgot I had to go to the airport. Then there was a sandwich. A glorious turkey sandwich, piled high with all the trimmings. I practically forgot to breathe as I inhaled its tasty deliciousness. Typically I am not a mustard fan, but today the overpowering flavor of the mustard was thoroughly delightful. The sandwich saved my life. I made it to PDX with time spare. I sat down at my gate and thought about what it means to go home again.

Today I woke up excited. Off to Chicago and then onward. All of the animals could sense the anticipation humming within me. After the morning feeding, I ate a small breakfast. The morning was a blur of packing and preparing knowing that upon my arrival back at the farm I would be with a mermaid. I washed the sheets and made the bed with extra care.

Surprisingly, I didn’t feel like dog shit today. While I was aware that may not be true by mid-afternoon, I started the day with vigor. I put the dishes away and picked up the house. I made coffee and read emails. I did not work out. Definitely not enough energy for that. I even got to work on time. Throughout the entire morning, however, thoughts still lingered from Ashley’s email. I feel so awful; I wished I knew what to say. I hoped that my carefully thought out response last night was well received. Divorce at 34, two kids. My suffering isn’t at all comparable. I simply cannot imagine. Pain in the gut. An ache in the head. Oh, I knew it would hit me eventually.

It was nice to wake up to Amy smiling in the kitchen. Someone happy about where she is and where she’s going. I felt bad she didn’t get any coffee before having to catch her flight. I felt a slight twinge of loneliness as I locked the door behind her. It made me remember that I still needed to water the plants. Oh, Henry. My first gift from him; a spider plant, nearly three years old. Guilt stirs when I think of giving him away. But I don’t think the memory of him should always be present. Someone will take care of him, without all the connotations. Someone will love him truly, completely.

I woke up startled. I never sleep well before I fly out. I looked at the time and decided I would take an uber to the airport and take another twenty minutes in bed. I got up, went to the bathroom, then crawled back into the guest bed that had once been my home, not long ago. Pulling the covers up around me in what seemed to be a chilly fall day, I took a moment to observe how I felt, ignoring the hangover of sleepiness. The last few times of waking up in this bed I was a completely different person but on the brink of change. I remembered, with shame, how I had texted my ex from way back when I was drunk after a friend’s wedding reception. The shame was worth it. Shame can be a tool to exit the ghost of love. Shame makes the haunting stop. I realized even though this place reminded me, my feeling wasn’t the same. That felt really good. I got up secretly hoping Lucenta had made coffee, I miss her coffee.

I woke up angry this morning. Even in the moment, I knew it was irrational. I attempted to drift back to sleep in hopes that I would wake up again to an emotional do-over. But that did not happen. I arose angrily. Pissed off at my loud neighbor for waking me up before I was ready to face the world. Resentful of the scar in the middle of my face that serves as a daily reminder of the failing relationship that I stayed in for too long. Annoyed at the dirty bathroom I had yet to clean. Offended that my supervisor was categorizing me with the moronic, lazy colleagues that he chose to hire. Again, irritated by the mess on my counter from this supposedly high-end coffee grinder; I should just throw it away and go back to using my basic manual grinder, circa 1995. I took a very long shower, letting the hot water wash away my bitterness, and watched it flow down the drain, imagining that it was carrying away my rage, simultaneously making it a distant memory. I stepped out of the shower and dried my face with a soft towel, wiping a better expression on my face to start the day.

Awake in Atlanta. I had an early morning. Charlie had woken me up with his fascination with the next door neighbor’s work crew. I tried to lay in bed a little longer, with no luck of sleep returning I rolled off the air mattress, and put my only pair of black ankle socks on, and walked into the kitchen. Melissa was awake and offered me coffee with a smile. She asked if I wanted to take a walk with her and Charlie and I gladly accepted. After we walked we ate barbeque from Pig and chick mixed with eggs. I drizzled a cream sauce all over mine. We all had collard greens, I took mine with salt, and Melissa used pepper jam on hers.

The struggle is real. All the partying, the non-stop movement through the days has finally caught up with me. I slept a full ten hours last night, but it wasn’t enough to undo the weeks of booze and body neglect. Seriously, thank god it’s Friday. Today will be a day of survival. Staying focused on the sweet, deep slumber ahead will get me through. I can’t wait to go back to bed.

We awoke to loud voices in the kitchen. Today is the big day. I could instantly feel my nerves start to grind. This would be my biggest performance yet. Amanda and I laid in bed for awhile talking about the strange man who had burst into our room in the middle of the night. We laughed at how confused he was when Amanda escorted him out of our room. I decided I wanted some coffee so I made my way down to the loud kitchen. I saw all the people and said, “wow.” I am not a fan of loud mornings but I remembered looking around that I love all these people. I ate a banana, orange, coffee with cream, and cinnamon rolls. After filling up I went back to my room wanting to focus and relax before my performance. I did yoga on a sunny porch overlooking the misty Smoky Mountains. I was ready to do this.

Oh, glorious morning of the mundane! I slept for ages and awoke relaxed with some sort of peace of mind. I did nothing, absolutely nothing, and it was perfect. Savored the fresh, nutty coffee while watching the raindrops splatter against the pavement and my windowpane. Thoroughly took pleasure in a simple bowl of fruit and granola. Let my thoughts lead me to wherever, everywhere. Marveled in all the beauty of nothingness.

I awoke hungover. I could hear slight stirring in the kitchen and immediately thought of the pulled pork in the gigantic tin container awaiting me in the fridge. I got up and went to the bathroom knowing I would wake Amanda up but not having a choice because there were only bathrooms in the guest bedrooms. Excited to be done with my duties for the weekend I ate a breakfast of pulled pork, an orange, and coffee. As I was eating Sandy appeared. We decided to go in the hot tub and enjoy mimosas while we watched the sunrise.

Today I woke with missions. Yoga, cleaning, chair shopping, groceries, reassessing my current healthcare plan, emails, etc. I have always had a to-do list, and I have always stressed if I don’t cross everything off. I need to work on this. I will always be type A, but I can address the unnecessary anxiety I allow as a result of overcommitting myself and not being realistic about time constraints, and the fact that I’m not superhuman. Although, relatively speaking, I am pretty amazing. Regardless, there are limits I need to realize and accept. And, for once, I feel OK admitting that. Must say, however, that I felt damn accomplished by bedtime.

I woke up really hungover. I looked over at the empty bed where Amanda had been. Sad she was gone, sad for the goodbyes ahead of me, I was too anxious to go back to sleep. I wandered into the shower and began to pack my belongings hoping that I could leave soon, knowing that would not be the case. It was a long arduous ordeal cleaning a cabin that almost 30 people had stayed and partied in. I drank a Budweiser and ate a chocolate cupcake, feeling the anticipation to see my mermaid more than anything.

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