Sunday, January 11, 2009

Too Early, January 11, 2009

Prompt: Write about a time when you had to rise early or arrived early. What does early mean to you?

This prompt is dedicated to Aldo Leopold, author of A Sand County Almanac, who was born on this day in 1887, in Burlington, Iowa. Leopold dropped dead of a heart attack fighting a neighbor's grass fire. This essay collection was published posthumously by his children and is still considered an important book within the conservation movement.

Too Early

Getting up too early is a vice habitual in horned owls, stars, geese, and freight trains. Some hunters acquire it from geese, and some coffee pots from hunters. It is strange that of all the multitude of creatures who must rise in the morning at some time, only these few should have discovered the most pleasant and least useful time for doing it.

from A Sand County Almanac, page 59

1 comment:

Michele said...

Early is before 5 A.M.

Early childhood education is something that came into being as a discipline after I left college.

Early is what my Irish Catholic, Brooklyn raised childhood friend Pat would say if the food was too “early” [oily].

But it’s not what Margaret Brown meant when she opened the door on a Christmas day and said with a scowl, “you’re early.”
“Oh, uh, I blubbered “ with Mike looking on, age 11. We had just climbed 10 flights of stairs to apartment 10 A at 107 West 71st Street in Manhattan – a bad address and a bad city to be elevator –phobic .

Margaret, the perfectionist and by her own admission,an under socialized person, did not invite us in to wait while she finished the preparations for their annual holiday party.

I was so taken aback by her very unfriendly gesture that I muttered something like, “w-we- we’ll be back in an hour.” Mike, confused, and I trooped back downstairs gathered up Peter who had just parked and was waiting for an “up” elevator, and went for coffee or to Barnes and Noble or something like that.

Margaret and her husband Wayne have been friends for at least 28-30 years. And, they have been very kind – at times. When some guy dumped me and I was boo-hoo-hooing to her on the phone, Margaret took me by the hand and we went to play tennis and have lunch. They came quickly to visit on the night that I miscarried the first time. And Wayne visited Peter every day of his 21 day stay in New York Hospital 18 years ago.

Wayne is free with his advice – and it is good. A trained and experienced clinical psychologist, Professor and Head of a Unit at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, he truly loves my husband and me too. It is clear that he values that friendship.

Margaret does too, I think. It’s just that she is . . .just less present in the friendship . She works for Wayne as a grant writer. But today I wonder – has she ever shown up early for anything? She is the kind of person who appears to try to be perfect. Her world is well organized: she takes her beloved dog to the dog park for an hour each day, writes grants at home, exercises for an hour, takes depression medication, and goes to the Hospital on Wednesday. I bet she is late sometimes.

Christmas day in New York was always a rush. Traditionally we had two parties to get to. Theirs is always a brunch and Margaret is a great cook. I guess I thought we could start at noon and it turned out their invitation was for one pm. The look on her face was enough to reduce me to a little girl and I HATE that.

But if I hadn’t known it before I learned on that day, that not only can we not arrive early at their home, but also, I have to be careful about the particulars in life with them. I can’t be early – and I can’t be late. I can’t get them to eat earlier when we dine out, and I can’t get them to meet us in New York on the weekend – unless it is Sunday night when we are on a plane back to RDU -- because they always go to the country house. We are supposed to go there – we are supposed to eat late. So, we don’t see them that often.

We share children who are just 9 months apart. That’s a bond of sorts for a life time since the 25 year old children are good friends. We also share friends from our lives as adult singles – fun moments, and they drove us to our wedding ceremony. So, we put up with the difference in our approaches to life. Being late is acceptable if you call first. But being early…I learned my lesson.

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