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OtterSummer 8.18-Mourning

Otter Summer mornings almost never come very early. Sure, we’re in the middle of the longest days of the year, but our Otter prefers to spend her mornings top-down. The first few days, she complains about the time zone change, unable to sleep until the wee hours almost stumble into dawn. Later, she still complains about the time zone change, though less believably. “David, you know it takes me all summer to get used to this time zone!” In fact, she never seems to get used to it.

Now, I can track her overnight Facebook posts to derive a rough estimate of her crash time. She reliably sleeps until the crack of noon, and would sleep through even that were it not for a pesky G-pa and the opportunity to engage in something more alluring than sleep. Few alternatives qualify.

Otter Summer mornings are remarkably quiet times. I need never fear for a lack of alone time, time to write and contemplate, when The Otter’s here. She brings plenty of elbow room. I prefer bounded solitude to the more isolated variety, so I seem more productive when she’s around.

Raising her before her regulation ten hours of sleep takes an insistent temperament. If she smells even one ounce of wuss in me, she’ll pull a reversal and bury her head back under the pillow for another hour or three. There’s little I can offer as an enticement, it seems. I have to be cold-hearted or lose the tussle. It’s always a tussle.

Then comes the morning grump. She usually rejects the very concept of breakfast, opting for an overlong shower instead. She never seems hungry until the hot water tank’s drained. Then, perhaps, she’ll drag herself to the breakfast table somehow, often opting for pie or even chips and salsa rather than my admittedly pedestrian oatmeal. Not even the presence of fresh cherries mollifies her sullen attitude.

She seems regretful then, as if she’d spent her night in combat against her own side and won. Innocents seems to have been sacrificed in the struggle; perhaps innocence, too. She has no sense of humor until well into the afternoon, and even then she prefers word play over anything practical.She never appreciates being the butt of even the most hilarious joke. Never. I, unfortunately, am at my most playful around dawn.

I worry over her in these late mornings, when she seems unredeemable, unforgiven, beaten rather than refreshed. She’ll reliably gain energy through the day, peaking around supper time. Until then, before then, she seems to struggle with even ordinary gravity, and seems somehow destined to lose.

I reflect on how heartless the world has become, insisting upon perky drivers, or the appearance of perky driving, as a precondition for bestowing acceptance. Edgar Allan Poe would be screwed in today’s job market. No darker temperaments need apply. Yet I know this young one to be more than just a grumpy mourning person. She can light up a room, light up a life for anyone capable of stomaching the slow start-up. I do not even privately aspire for her to discover her inner Up With People persona. Should she ever find it, I’d try to help her ditch it somewhere.

Today, though, she roused by seven by the promise of helping me on my rounds feeding feral cats. The downpour outside, though, led her to opt out of this adventure. Her new dye job isn’t water stable yet, and the rain would leave crimson tracks down her shoulders. So she’s engaged, listening to some of my songs on my iPod, preparing to sing along. She claims to feel butterflies in her stomach, like this practice performance might qualify as the real thing. And it might.

There are no unrepresentative behaviors in this world, nor could there be. I could paint a picture-perfect portrait of The Grand Otter and produce nothing better than a two-dimensional cartoon cutout. This must be the real deal, mourning mornings and all, or none of it means anything at all.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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