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"I dream of my own dominion while denying myself, as well."

I start my summer days slowly, waking early to waste the first few hours in a dark house gazing out into darkness. I wear a jacket, not wanting to waste an ounce of furnace fuel warming up space I'll later be desperate to cool. I step out onto the driveway to spy whatever satellite might be passing by and quietly curse the neighbor's paranoid night lights. They fear prowlers though their neighbors would just as soon somebody hauled their immobile vehicles somewhere far away where we wouldn't have to watch them rust all day and night. I suppose that I'm an annoyance to my neighbors, too, for I semi-scrupulously maintain my yard, which I do not consider to be hard work, just necessary, but in mountain communities, yards tend toward the natural, left as is, weedy and imprecise. We each display our vices, often proud of our attributes and unaware of the quiet rebukes our presence provokes. The Predawn slips like velvet across my face.

I feel master of this place in the wee, small hours.
Later, after the sun arrives, I'll see my responsibilities crowding me, but NowHere, I hear a nightbird calling and sense the dawn wind winding up. Absolute stillness dissolves into gusty gales as dawn nears, as if to blow away the night and make more room for the coming light. I contemplate setting sprinklers, for it's supposed to be a scorcher later, but the building breeze dissuades me and I figure I can safely let watering slide until the evening, when another tempest might roll through, anyway, and save me the trouble of watering. The lightning show last night and the night before left an etherial stillness in their wake. The cats went crazy while the winds tore through, settling into exhausted fuzzy puddles once the sun finally set. Molly stepped out onto the deck as the storm arrived, then quickly stepped back inside. The sky must have seemed like it was weeping to her, the usual gentle breeze turned mean. I want her to learn to be humble when stepping outside. The world's larger and more dangerous than she could possibly know.

I take to my morning chair, the one where I await each dawn. Should I sleep too long and find the sun already stalking before I can sit, I sense myself falling behind it all. I cannot recover the lost head start and I tend to find myself feeling behind for the balance of the following day. I cannot stay up all night to gain advantage, but must abandon my sleep and my dreams in favor of a quiet surveying. I won't write until the sun comes up, but I will by then have tossed and turned a dozen different scenarios, each considered, most rejected out of hand. I'm not so much planning as scanning my horizon, curious about just where I find myself this day. What of all I might choose to say will I choose to say? This day, each day, seems to deserve at least these small considerations. I should decide because I actually could decide, and this day, like every day before, will prove unrefundable. I must receive what I'm given even though I also must reject at least ninety percent of these possibilities before I can accept. I reject every exception to this small rule.

This Predawn, I started supper, a quick prep before submersing it double sealed in jury-rigged Zip-Locs® into our sou vide rig, which looks every bit like a '46 Hudson Coupe, all smooth curves and chrome. The cats seem curious when seeing me starting supper in Predawn darkness, but low and slow means an all day soak and supper should be ready by eight o'clock tonight. That chore dispatched, I set the double boiler to warm my Gruel breakfast and start the ancient espresso maker to brewing my bowl of Italian roast decaf. My Predawn doesn't want or need any jazzing caffeine, for it seemingly runs on air. I open the door to let the last of this abbreviated night inside before the raucous magpies arrive to fetch the leftovers I set on the deck. The cats line up behind the slider to stalk their noisy neighbors who come each dawn to dine on whatever of last night's supper remained rejected overnight. I set out fresh food, TV dinners for the gawking cats, who tense up when the birds arrive. They feign pouncing and dream of a dominion I purposefully deny them. I dream of my own dominion while denying it to myself, as well.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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