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Summer is a time to shine, not sleep

Mon., July 21, 2008

The busy sound of the birds outside, matched by the loud chittering of my daughter’s parakeets upstairs, wakes me. I open my eyes and notice the fingers of light slipping into my room, pulling at the edges of the blinds on the windows. I turn over, look at the clock, and groan. It’s not even 5 a.m.

Some mornings I can’t fight it. I bury my face in the pillow. Chances are, I only got into bed a few hours before, seduced by the long day into staying up too late, dawdling, eating a late supper, watering plants on the patio and watching the cats play outside at twilight, walking the dogs as the moon rose. Chances are I wrote too late into the night, or put in a movie when I should have called it a day. I might have spent too much time at the computer answering e-mails or shopping online.

But when the sun rises early on a summer morning, I try to drag myself out of bed to meet it. I know it won’t be long before I’ll be forced to get up and get going in the darkness, stumbling in the dark beginning of a new day, hours ahead of the sunrise.

So, I throw back the coverlet and put my feet on the floor. I let the dogs out the back door and make a cup of tea.

Summer mornings are the sweetest fruit of the season. Softer and sweeter than peaches and nectarines, with more bite than cherries picked off the tree. The air is cool. The sun is hot and steady. The roses are wide open and fragrant.

I take my tea outside and sit on the chaise. With my knees pulled up, the hem of my gown tucked over my toes and my hands wrapped around the mug of hot tea in my palms, I forget about being sleep-deprived and drowsy. I don’t care that I’ll droop in the mid-afternoon, just when I need to get the most done. It doesn’t matter that I’ll probably stay up too late again and wake up tired the next morning.

Summer is a short season in this part of the world. It fades in and out, overshadowed by the long winter just passed and the winter that will be at the heels of autumn.

I’ll catch up on my sleep then.

Right now, starting with the dawn, with the softest, sweetest time of the day, like the birds that greet the morning by singing to the sun, I stretch and join the party outside.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap can be reached at


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