It’s 5am. I’m awake.

It’s 5:30am. I’m still awake, I’m hungry and I need to pee. I get up and make some coffee, put on a sweater and go sit on my balcony. It rained last night, and the ground is still wet, and the air has been washed clean. It’s overcast, so there’s no sunrise, but the sky is as light as it’s going to get today. I think about going for a bike ride (at this point, the thought does occur to me that I was abducted by aliens in my sleep and it’s the implanted microchip that’s doing the thinking). It’s still a full 3 hours before my usual time to rise & shine. I read a couple of journal articles about differences between German and English rhetorical style….and I’m STILL awake by the end of the 2nd article. A bird lands with a splash in the pond, and from where I’m sitting I can see a black and white cat trotting along with something orange hanging from it’s mouth. Then I look at the orange and black and white cat curled up sleeping on my lap. I think about how different the cat’s lives are. Catticus is clean and cozy and well fed and plays and sleeps a lot. The black and white cat (I’ve seen it many times before) lives down the hill in a garbage heap. It’s dirty and skittish and also well fed, but judging from what in the garbage pile, I doubt it’s nutritious. Then I think about the news lately, and picture the people in Darfour, Bosnia, Bagdhad, Afganistan, and I know I’m missing many more. – and I think about me curled up on my balcony sipping a hot cup of coffee. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get it settled in my head that we all get one life, and while I”m living mine as it is, so many others spend their lives so differently. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but it’s like trying to eat a rubber grape. No matter how much you chew on it, it still looks the same when you spit it out again. (I know this, because we used to have rubber grapes when I was a kid. I chewed on ’em a lot, and they still looked the same when I spit ’em out again. If you’ve ever bought rubber grapes at a garage sale at our house, you might want to give ’em a wash).

And that’s what happens in my head at 5:30am when I’m awake, hungry, and need to pee.

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