Monday, August 22, 2016

Mississippi Pre-dawn

Like the Silver Robin Out and About before Dawn in Columbus, Mississippi

The Silver Robin is a children's book I read in grade school well over fifty years ago, and it reminds me of the discoveries I made today when I left the house around 4:30 a.m. The silver robin in the story is an adventurous young bird, and he decided that he wanted to get up during the night and see what it was like. As we all know, robins are daylight birds and go to bed at sunset. So the night world was a whole different experience for the silver robin, as well as for me in pre-dawn Columbus, Mississippi.

That's how I felt this morning. I really got up at 3:30 a.m., because...Ellie-Mae (my five-month-old calico twin-sister kittens). I showered, dressed, and left the house. It was dark out, sultry from the humidity. The sky was socked in with heavy clouds. The streets were almost empty, except for others of us out at this time. My neighbor, Sharon, just two houses down was already out with her dog when I passed by. I passed through traffic lights on my way to the local MacDonald's, where I hoped they had places where I could plug in my laptop. They didn't. But I stayed anyway and settled down with a cup of coffee and worked on one of my book manuscripts. It's amazing how fresh the mind is in the early morning.

The large plate-glass windows were beaded with moisture like a glass of iced, Southern sweet tea on a summer's day; this is a phenomena one doesn't see in the desert on a summer morning. I liked the feel of the air: moist, sultry, enfolding.

Another thing I prefer to do away from the house (because...Ellie-Mae) is read the printout of my current work, where I can sit and red line the manuscript in peace and quiet. I can and sometimes do put the girls in the master bedroom/bath, so I can work on my home computer in peace, but I soon feel guilty. So the solution for me is to go somewhere in town. At 4:30 a.m. that would be MacDonald's, the Waffle House, Huddle House, or perhaps Hardees.

Out and about in the predawn was a good time for contemplation of the coming day and projects I'm currently working on. I'm simultaneously preparing three manuscripts for publication. They're the last three books in my Common Threads in the Life series, titled A Summer's Change, Book I: The Runaway, A Summer's Change, Book II: A Season of Family, and A Summer's Change, Book III: The Rest of Their Lives. So I contemplated the three cover graphics the artist had sent me, and I'm excited about getting them ready for the e-book debut in just a few weeks. I thought about the ongoing work my house needs--mainly to the outside, like the underground jungle of roots and nodes that must be dug up. I'm working on the two flower beds in front of the house, which are currently in a chaos of growth. I now see why people here usually just cut back the branches and bushes, rather than trying to eradicate them by digging up the roots (silly me).

When I left MacDonald's, the dawn was imminent, and I drove reluctantly to Walmart, where I needed to get some items. Even at this hour, there were customers, so there are more silver robins than I thought.

After I took my purchases home, I visited the local farmer's market. The air was cool and wet and felt good, different from the often icy desert dawn, even in the summer. I bought homemade blackberry jam, peach fried pies, and farm fresh ham slices which I will cook up later, along with my potato-cheese soup.

Finally, at 8:30, the Coffee Shop on 5th opened and I set up my laptop. It's a new experience, getting used to how this PC works, since I've used a Mac almost exclusively for the past 25 years. At least in the coffee shop, I don't have my kittens climbing up my leg and getting in front of the computer screen, or better yet pulling the flat-screen monitor over as they attempt to climb up on that. Oh well...they won't be kittens forever, so I need to enjoy their exuberance while it lasts.

The predawn does present a different edge to the world, and again in the summer with the high humidity, it was like leaving the house with a warm blanket wrapped around my shoulders, one that I readily tossed off when I returned home to my girls; I turned the AC down to 74 for a little of that icy feel one can get during a predawn desert morning.

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  1. Nice post. Can almost hear the quiet and dew.

  2. The band in this video is actually a Dutch band, which was popular twenty years ago, but "Mississippi" is probably their signature song. Their music was always tinged with a Country-Western sound, which made them unique.