"Peace like a river ran through the city."
I love mornings. I never in a million years would have thought I'd ever say that. I'm a lifelong night-owl who loves sleeping more than eating and almost as much as breathing.
I've never been a morning person. From 7th grade through 12th at Hunter College High School I had to travel from Forest Hills, Queens, to midtown Manhattan - and be there when the bell rang at the ungodly hour of 8:40. I know, I know, big deal. High schools here in Texas start at 7:30, but most kids don't have a one-hour bus and train ride first. And you know, it was the sixties and it took me a while to get that perfectly straight part down the middle of my long brown hair before I could leave the house.
I vowed that when I grew up I would never have a job where I had to be at work early or had to wear anything except blue jeans (OK blue jeans and a t-shirt). So naturally, I spent 30 years in a career where our flex hours were 7:30 to 5 and blue jeans were allowed only during the last 10 years of my stint on designated casual Fridays.
Maybe if I had loved my job more the alarm clock wouldn't have been private enemy number one. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference. Except for one time in my life when I was manic, temporarily forgot how to sleep and was up cleaning my house at 4 am. (which is another blog post), the snooze button was all that stood between me and the proverbial unemployment line.
OK, I am never going to be that person who sets their alarm so they can hike up a mountain and watch the sun come up. I try never to book a vacation flight that leaves earlier than noon because there is no point getting up on the wrong side of bed, so to speak, if I can possibly avoid it. But somewhere along the way I lost my taste for sleeping until 11 or 10 and sometimes even 9. Left to my own devices, it turns out that I am neither night owl nor early bird, neither fowl nor other fowl. If I listen to my biorhythms or whatever it is that you listen to in your own body, my perfect sleep hours turn out to be midnight to 8 and sometimes 11 to 7, pm to am.
Sparkle time for me comes in the form of a cup of hot black joe, a purring cat, white or brown, take your pick, and the sun pouring in like butterscotch and sticking to all my senses. Thanks to Joni Mitchell for that. Sure soon enough I will pick up the iPad, check email, Lampwork Etc., Etsy, ebay and Facebook, necessarily in that order. I will dress, on schooldays I will go to school and on all the other days I will go to work. And by that I mean I will turn on the kiln, take 2 ibuprofen tablets, 2 omega 3 gels and 1 tumeric and black pepper capsule - all for anti-inflammatory therapeutic reasons - and head for my studio.
My studio. My jam-packed 120 square foot space in our garage. Our unheated, non-air-conditioned garage. My nirvana of glass goodness, plus the tools of my trade: torch, oxygen concentrator, propane tank, kiln, ventilation hood, and various and sundry other energy consumers. Plus a gallimaufry of all things lampworkers must have, in addition to miles and miles of glass cane - frit, leaf, mesh and wire, enamels and powders, murrini and shards, cubic zirconia, fine silver and 24K gold for fuming, mandrels, mashers, pokers, presses, racks, rod rests, rollers.
I'm closer to 50 than 40, and always will be. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Who would have thought, in this second half of life, that I would finally find a passion that wasn't embodied in the heart of another human being. But there it is, I have, I did, I do.
My friend Nancie says that if you love what you do, you will never work a day of your life. Pretty impressive coming from a hairdresser and yoga instructor without medical or dental insurance. Me, I could never make that leap of faith which is why I spent more than 30 years working for the machine. It's why I have such a sense of gratitude, every single morning of my life, for that embodiment of human passion who keeps me in this tourist town (no bright red devil he, more an angel in disguise). And for the grace of the gods and goddesses who have brought me to this place where I am happier than I ever dared hope or imagine - in my wildest dreams - I would be, I am thankful.
"I'm trying to tell you something about my life, maybe give me insight between black and white; and the best thing you've ever done for me is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all." Amy Ray, Emily Saliers - the Indigo Girls