It’s a New Dawn…and I’m Feeling Good

There’s this song we sang in Girl Scouts that went

Why sleep when the day has been called out by the sun
From the night? Cuz the light’s gonnna shine on everyone.
Why sleep when the sleep only closes up our eyes?
Why sleep when we can watch the sun arise?

It goes on from there in a perky fashion. And all you former Girl Scouts out there? You’re welcome for the ear worm.

Now, I’ve mentioned many times that I am not a morning person. Never have been. At girl scout camp, when they programmed us with the song and then encourage us to go on the sunrise hike? I opted out. (Actually “sunrise hike” is a misnomer. It was a pre-dawn hike UP the mountain to then watch the sunrise. One girl in my group got hit in the face with a backlashing branch that split her eyelid open, so I felt totally vindicated.)

I used to make smart remarks like, why bother to watch a sunrise when the sunset is the same thing in reverse.

Over time, however, I’ve taught myself to get up early – not to hike up mountains in the pre-dawn dark, which still sounds insane to me – but to get all the things done that are important to me. And I’ve found that sunrises do look different.

I kind of like seeing them. I like how the sky goes from dark to day. It is like the fulfillment of a promise.

My friend, the fabulous writer and blogger, Tawna Fenske, let everyone know last week that her marriage is breaking up. Then she went on to mention conversations she and I had about her next husband, Xavier. I made him up for her partly to make her laugh when she was sad.

But also, I believe it’s important to remember that there will be new dawns. It’s easy, in the depths of despair over a breakup or loss, to think that you’ll never meet anyone ever again. Building the fantasy of the possibilities is part of dragging yourself out of that mindset.

Why not imagine the fabulously wealthy man with a chateau in the South of France who learned sensual secrets in Thailand? Dreaming something wonderful lifts us up and opens our eyes.

I learned this from my mother, who’s been widowed twice. And married three times. Always she looked beyond the dark days of grief to sunlit days ahead.

That’s probably even worth getting up early for.


I like this, when the sun is rising opposite the Sandias and first hits the peaks, highlighting them with gold on snow.

Lately I’ve been doing a new thing in the mornings. Not on purpose. In the last few years, since we started getting up early to exercise, and since we haven’t been exhausted and sleep-deprived, I sometimes awake before the alarm.

This is unusual for me. I mentioned before that I’m not a morning person and really had to train myself to wake up early to write. When I was younger, I’d sleep through the alarm clock. I’d sleep through phone calls. I had to be dragged from sleep and it took forever for my brain to engage.

So, for me to awake before the alarm – sometimes as much as 45 minutes before – is a new experience for me. I lie there in bed savoring the warmth, the comfort, David’s sleeping form next to me, and dreamthink.

This is how I’m thinking of it. My mind wanders through the story I’m working on and I kind of dream about it, kind of fantasize. It’s probably Stage 1 or 2 sleep. I’m betting if we hooked me up to an EEG then, it would show spindle waves. Which is appropos of nothing.

What is neat for me, is this has become plotting time, in a lovely, effortless way.

When I wrote Obsidian, I started kind of from this state. It was a rainy Saturday morning in April. David had gotten up early to attend a seminar I blissfully did not have go to. I slept a long time after he left, as this was back in the exhausted & sleep-deprived days. When I finally awoke, maybe around 10:30, I laid there and thought about the long, vivid dream I had. Then I went upstairs and wrote it down. I wrote for hours while the rain fell on the skylights.

Some think creativity comes from the subconscious, welling up from deep within. And the subconscious can only really be heard when the conscious mind, with all her lists and timetables, is quieted.