Dawn appears every morning and yet, as I get caught up in my normal hustle and bustle, I don’t often stop to appreciate her showing. I might catch a hint of pink as I proceed from yoga mat to shower stall but more often my eye is more captivated by the hands of the clock racing me into the demands of my day.
Truth be told, I really love to sleep in. In my nostalgia for younger days, I imagine never to see the dawn, except from the night’s end. During vacations, my natural body clock adjusts to, well, my own. I know, I know, sleep before midnight is considered sacrosanct, but there is something delicious about staying up until the baker’s are firing ovens and filling the town with wafts of rising dough. Why, just last August I met up with my three grown kids in New Jersey for a week of family frolicking and tested my capability to make a real night of it.
In true, twenty-something fashion we dined and dressed and looked divine before making our way across the George Washington Bridge around 9:30 pm. Halted by a three car collision and the lack of a proper breakdown lane, we had plenty of time to text, Facebook, email, you know, do all those things you do when you’re twenty-something and stuck in a car. After a thirty minute wait we continued this now frantic drive to our first destination: meeting a few old friends at an East Side eatery. Well, old friends of my children, who have, through the years, become favorites of mine too. Drinks were ordered, these became rounds, and quickly I remembered how hard communicating is shouting over music and dinner plates and mobs of people. Having exhausted this venue, it was time to walk a few short blocks to the birthday party… our destined destination, arriving just shy of midnight.
At this point the connections get murky, a friend of someone’s girlfriend perhaps? Off we went en masse, up the elevator to the apartment, then ushered back into the elevator to the roof top. More old friends, more new ones, more drinks now against the backdrop of the New York skyline complete with the Empire State Building, a glory of shimmering white. I knew there was a plan, a sketch for the evening festivities, for before we set out there was plenty of discussion if “Mom” (Me) should even be a tag along. After all, this was to be a long, late night… I assured them, that despite my routine of sleeping during the dark of night, I was perfectly capable of greeting the dawn with them.
Somewhere in this span of time, this rooftop time, I remembered the weather report of rain and my collapsible umbrella left in the car some blocks away, but as it started as only a drizzle we persevered. Eventually, as drizzle turned into more, a steady rain sent us back down to the friend of someone’s girlfriend’s apartment to huddle and discuss options. Yeah, there was at least one clever planner in the bunch. Her top option: a dance spot a bit lower down the east side, only a short, translate to inexpensive, cab ride away. Once there however, this rendezvous spot proved impossible for we were now 28 and not on the list; we quickly opted for what looked like a decent and adjacent place to grab a cocktail and regroup.
Within the brief respite of my coconut and vodka thing the heavens opened. Yes, a biblical opening. Water rose up over those short useless lower east side curbs faster than my martini glass unfrosted amid all those bodies packed in the over-crowded bar. We thought ourselves lucky at this moment and probably for several after, until the bar bill became a serious commitment and the hands on the clock entered a time period reserved for a slumbering sleep for just about all of us. We were trapped, for the rain, now coming in buckets, in a cascading waterfall of Hawaiian proportions, hadn’t let up, not for a second.
How we made our way into cabs and back to cars and all that is a daunting tale that involves too much walking in devastating rain causing the ruin of many a dress shoe and designer hat; it involves being wet, wet to the skin in the full literal depth of that cliche. Luckily, eventually, thanks to my skilled and sober son, our designated one, we were ferried through torrents raging down the East Side Drive back to New Jersey to wring out every drop from clothing and rummage to find warm pajamas and soft beds as the clock struck four. As dawn broke amidst the dark grey of storm clouds we pulled blankets over our heads to sleep until noon.
Back home, in my real-life, far from a twenty-something life, I am determined to stop my racing morning routine long enough to glimpse the of pink as it broadens across the mountain and brings a warm glow into my east windows. And, unlike my August rendezvous, let this vision fill my day with all the promise Aurora’s rosy fingers intended.