Sunday morning I ran on the levee in downtown Baton Rouge. There is a riverwalk that begins by the River Center downtown, follows the Mississippi to the LSU campus and then continues past there. I only had a six-mile run so I stopped at 3 miles and turned around. The riverwalk continued for as far as I could see. I don’t know how far it goes. I encountered several bicyclists along the way. By the time I ran, it was really too hot for running. I didn’t encounter any other runners on Sunday.They had either done their thing early or decided to find a shadier spot.
I loved to run by the river in Memphis. I always thought about the fact that I grew up somewhere downriver from Memphis. But, this time…. this Sunday…. I was actually running downriver from Memphis. I was also running upriver from New Orleans. It was early on Sunday for most people, but for me it was sort of late. I started running after daybreak and finished around 9 AM. I thought about my friend Michael in New Orleans who I knew was cooking by that time. Saturday, he texted me a photo of the mahogany roux he was making. The Saints played on Sunday, and I know that Michael has season tickets. He posted photos of them on his Facebook page the day he was moving to Houston in an unexpected and unwelcome turn of events. So, I knew his roux was probably the base of a dish he was preparing for his Sunday black and gold celebration. I could picture him as I ran on the levee … downriver …. cooking…. stirring his ingredients, laughing his raucous laugh and grinning from ear to ear with that beautiful open-mouthed grin of his that always makes me want to hug his neck. It was early, but he’s an early bird, too. He would have been up for hours.
I imagined another early bird friend in Memphis who was probably on his third or fourth cup of coffee as he watched the river flow by his riverfront condominium. He loves to watch the sunset with a glass of wine and watch it rise with a cup of coffee and a friend. I knew he was up there, and, if I’d been doing anything but running, I could have texted Jerry and Micheal to see what they were up to on this particular Sunday. Farther west, I could picture Jessica in Austin running or finishing up a run in the Austin heat with friends. She’s another early bird who rises before the sun to get her workouts in.
At a party Saturday, I mentioned that I had to go for an early run, and my friends had asked what time I’d get up. I get up around 5 AM on weekends and between 4 and 5 on weekdays depending on whether I have to work out or not. They laughed Saturday and told me I was crazy, but I know a whole group of people who do the same thing. My friends Bobbie Jo and Berlin get up close to the four o’clock hour. I see them checking in on FB and sometimes text or FB Bobbi Jo to talk about running. It’s not uncommon for me to text or talk with 3-4 friends before 6 AM. I know who the early birds are. And, they know I’m up too.
When I lived in Seattle, I had to turn my phone off at night. The early birds back east would forget about the time zone difference and call me at what would be a normal hour for us to talk. On Pacific time, it would be 2 or 3 in the morning. So, in order to get a decent night’s sleep, I’d turn the phone off. It was fun to call them as soon as I woke up because it was much later there. I love to talk when I first get up in the morning. I love to talk while I have my first cup of tea or coffee. I’ve never had the luxury of living with another early bird. I drove both of my husbands crazy with my eagerness to chat them up so early in the morning. So, the phone … and now Facebook …. has been my lifeline to my dear early bird pals.
I believe you are either a morning person or a night owl. I’m most definitely NOT a night owl. It’s only 8:15 right now, and I’d dying on the vine. I’m waiting for a friend to call right now – another early bird – and I know we’ll both be tired. It won’t be the most energetic part of our energy rhythms. Caffeine helps even it out when I have to stay up, but it’s not the same as my natural energy. I asked the early birds to post on Facebook why they liked the mornings and what they do with that time. Some use it for spiritual practices like meditation and reading and praying. Others use that time for exercise. Still others use it for quiet time or visiting with an early bird spouse. For some, it’s Facebook-stalking time. Most liked the morning because it was the part of the day that was unspoiled with other responsibilities and for the promise it holds for the day. My friend Nancy said she likes to listen to Frank Sinatra, and she thinks of her early rising as “getting to the theatre before the crowd.”
I like that thought, Nancy. Come to think of it, I don’t like running late for anything else either. I just like getting there early – whether it’s to the theatre or to my life. If you’re an early bird, you probably won’t read this until tomorrow morning… so, good morning, y’all!!!
Thanks, Nancy for the song!