I love weekend mornings.
I used to love them because it was my only chance in the week to sleep in, but that's no longer true. Because I don't work at a conventional job, and can set my own hours, I can pretty much get up when I please any day of the week.
Weekend mornings it pleases me to get up early. No, earlier than that. No, you're still not getting it. I mean early. Early enough to be the first ones off the first tee.
Today my alarm went off just before 5 A.M. Actually, I was already stirring - had it not started chirruping on my bedside table, I'd have been awake by 5 anyway.
I got dressed, took Roxy out while my wife dragged her ass around getting ready (I mean, seriously - curling your hair? To golf?), then hopped in the car and headed off to the golf course. It's on the North shore of my little Island, about ten minutes' drive from my back door, and no traffic that time of day.
(Not that there's ever much traffic. As much as the Island is a tourist destination (our population more than triples in the summer), the worst traffic jam I ever run into happens when the farmer down the road leads his herd across the highway to graze in the field opposite his main pasture. I must get a picture of that one day. It's achingly quaint, and always amuses me to see a license plate from Massachusetts or Ontario or Pennsylvania stopped on the highway, waiting for a cattle drive to finish.)
I got to the golf course at the very first light. I cannot tell you how breathtakingly beautiful it is on a summer morning to stand on the first tee, the first few rays of sunlight turning the dew into scattered diamonds, the air so light and fresh and clean it feels like dawn of the first day ever.
The only tang in that air is the smell of newly mown grass. It's one of my very favourite smells, and at that time of day, as the greenskeepers work feverishly to make the course immaculate, that smell is carried on even the slightest wisp of a breeze.
It's also early enough that the foxes are still on the prowl, eager to pounce on those odd, rolling eggs that seem to fall from the sky near them. This morning, a mother fox darted out into the first fairway, chased down my wife's ball, and proudly pranced off into the woods with her prize. I waited till she was long gone before I hit, because my wife uses a cheaper brand of balls than I, and the foxes seem to prefer the expensive balls.
(Fox kits in the den: "Oh, gross, Mom made Top-Flytes again! Mo-o-o-o-m! When can we have Titleists? Reynard's mom feeds him Titleists!"
"Well, if Reynard's mom let him run out into the middle of the road at 11:45 PM when Nils is tired and coming home from a gig and comes round a corner and sees a fox and swerves to miss it and barely does, and then his heart is pounding at like 300 beats per second and if you could take the adrenaline that's now coursing through his system, blow it out his nose, and cut it with baking soda, you could sell it on the street for like $300 a gram ... would you follow?"
"Well, yeah. We're foxes. That's what we do."
"Shut up and eat your Pro Staffs.")
The birds are up early, too, of course. All manner of shore birds, songbirds, larks, robins, finches, and of course, the crows. (In fact, on the Island, that time of day is named for them : "crow piss". As in "Jaysus, you look tired tonight, me son. Where've you been to?" "Oh, I was up at crow piss to get out on the golf course.")
I get up so early because I love golfing at that time of day - I feel alive and filled with energy and positive and focused. I can play my shots, and take a moment to look around and drink in the incredible beauty around me, and still leave the rest of the golfers in my dust and finish the round in 2 1/2 hours. All in all, a perfect start to the day - I come home, relax on my deck with a Diet Coke, and I'm at peace with the world.