My wife Sue rose early this morning to head out for Master’s Swim. It was 4:40 a.m when the alarm went off.
When it comes to getting up for workouts, the woman has the discipline of a tigress stalking prey through the jungles of India. She has the willpower of a mother polar bear coursing through Arctic seas to snatch a seal off an ice floe. She has the determination of a golden eagle soaring high above the mountains scanning cliffs for signs of moving prey.
By comparison I have the relative motivation of a koala bear crawling the limbs of a eucalyptus tree for leaves to munch. If they’re in reach, I’m all good. If they’re not, I sit there a moment with my eyes half open hoping the winds will blow enough to bring the leaves closer. At least that’s how I feel after she leaves our warm bed in the morning and I’m still there under the covers.
Of course, I exaggerate. In truth I’ve always been an early riser. Even as a child I’d pop out of bed at dawn to head out on some adventure. If there were none awaiting, I’d invent them as I go along.
So I’m teasing about the whole koala bear thing. Nor am I slothlike, letting moss grow on my back while crawling slowly through the Amazon canopy. These days I fall somewhere between a mink (about which I’ve written before) and a honey badger, perhaps the most industrious and relentless creature on earth. Next to a Republican trying to force a tax plan through at the last hour. Merciless buggers.
But as I lay there in bed this morning, the covers seemed to hold me in place like the warm hands of a thousand angels. “Stay in bed,” they seemed to say. “It is entirely too snuggly in here for you to leave. This is heaven on earth.”
I moved my foot a little, and it felt so warm under the covers I imagined being embraced in the arms of ten thousand tiny kittens, each one purring as it pressed their soft little paws against me.
Or maybe it was like being in my own beaver den below the ice and freezing waters of a winter pond. Warm in my pelt of thick, soft fur, the world outside could not reach inside my huddling den.
I was so warm and cozy under the covers I thought about a family dog by the fireplace comforted by the sounds of his people bumping around the house. The dog nuzzles his muzzle into two big paws and dozes off with the fire winking brightly before him.
What other places in the world could be so cozy and warm?
A thermal spring in Iceland, where the inner warmth of the earth itself defies the cold air all around?
Or perhaps ledge of some vast mountain valley in tropical Hawaii, wrapped in humid green trees graced by the whistles of rare mountain birds, the last of their kind on earth?
Yes, I was mighty comfy in bed this morning. But then one of our cats came stalking into the bedroom. I sensed the small beast at the bottom of the bed. So I skritched my toe against the blankets ever so slightly. Then again. He pounced. The cat loves that game. So I scratched with my fingers on the other side of the bed. He leapt across and pounced on my hand as well. We wrestled through the thickness of the sheets and blankets and covers. Then he jumped off the bed and stood in the doorway.
“Oh, is it time to eat?” I asked.
So I wrenched my legs out from Cozyland and slipped my toesies into the plaid slippers I got for Christmas last year. Then I led a Cat Parade down the stairs to the kitchen where I dished out four even bowls of cat food so they would not fight. Then I turned around to find a note written on a napkin in silver Sharpie.
“Cats have been fed.”
Ah well, the buggers tricked me. But now that I was up and moving, it was time to go on that run I’d promised myself was going to happen.
It turned out to be a wonderful morning to run with a bright 3/4 moon lighting up the sky. The sun was not yet impacting our part of the world, but the moon’s illumination made everything blue and wonderful. I ran four and a half miles at my typical 8:40-9:00 training pace and got in a couple sprints by crossing the four lanes of Orchard Road a couple times.
Nothing special in terms of worldly encounters, yet really special in its way, because it was my way. The warm snuggly bed did not keep me from a good run after all.
Then my tigress wife arrived home about the time I was done with my run. I’d gone out back to feed the birds and met her at the open garage door. We exchanged warm kisses in the breach and I realized it was a good thing to have left that warm bed after all. It turns out kittens, angels and warm Icelandic springs can’t hold me back. For long, anyway.