Robert Kirby had the day off. This is a reprint of an earlier column.
Most days I sneak out of bed at 5:30 a.m. Stealth is important because my wife is still asleep. If I wake her up, she'll roll over and peer at the clock radio.
My wife is not a morning person. If she doesn't like what the clock says, she might bounce it off my head. I've tried setting it forward a couple of hours but that actually makes it worse when she finds out about it.
I prefer dawn. If I have absolutely nothing to do, I'm up before the sun. But if I have a full schedule, I'll sleep until noon. Odd that.
I also tip-toe around the dogs. Not because I care about their sleep patterns. I worry about them beating the floor with their tails and waking up my wife.
The cat I don't care about it at all. The only fuss Bob Valdez makes is a yawn that turns his head inside out. Besides, he sleeps more than Dracula. He's caught up on his sleep until 2095.
The day is mine once I'm out of the bedroom. For a couple of hours, I can pretend I'm king of the world or at least the neighborhood.
I like being a morning person for the simple reason that most people are not. And there aren't enough other morning people to have screwed up the day yet.
Summer mornings are the best. During the night, God's housekeeping service polishes everything so that even the garbage cans gleam in the growing light.
Early is the best time for birds, before the background noise of suburban life drowns out the music they bring.
Usually, early also is robins yanking worms out of the lawn. Last week I watched a pair of kingbirds pester a raven until it fell apart and lumbered off sobbing.
A totally cool bird moment was when a kestrel came in and picked up a mouse on his way to work. He ate it in the garden. All I found was a foot.
Once, shortly after we moved in, I walked around a corner of the house to investigate a noise and came face to face with a deer. It cleared the back fence with a single boing.
But it's what I don't hear that makes early mornings so great. Mostly nothing. No lawn mowers, no diesel engines, no neighbor kids, no ice cream truck and no telephones. I sit in the backyard and wish civilization was over.
Magic time ends around 7:30 a.m. Garage doors roll open and the street starts filling with cars and kids. I get up and head down to the office to write and answer the phone.
My wife says mornings aren't for everyone. She's right. They're mine.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.