It was barely light outside. Was it even light yet? I don't know. I can't remember. I was awakened from a dream in which someone was screaming, to the reality of birds screeching in the tree whose branches hang low over the back deck, outside the open sliding glass door, of the house I'm renting on Fire Island.
As the fuzz of sleep began to blow away I realized the chirping (screeching?, tweeting?, screaming?) was constant but without pattern. I couldn't latch on to it in order to fall back to sleep. I kept my eyes closed hoping that it would stop and that the cozy fog of sleep would pull me back into its depths again. As I was lying there I began to wonder what the birds were saying to each other. In the haze of partial alertness I wondered if the sound was coming from baby birds crying for their breakfast. Then I remembered the Velociraptors in Jurassic World, how they communicated with each other. What were they saying? What were these birds saying? Were they gossiping? Singing? Fighting? In that altered state between asleep and fully awake the mind can play all kinds of tricks and games, have all kinds of thoughts.
Five minutes later, ten, thirty...the chirping finally ceased. I remember thinking to myself, "Thank God she fed them." I drifted back to sleep.
I don't know how much longer sleep held me in its grasp as I refuse to have a clock on the bedside table and have no idea what time the birds started blaring at top volume. I do know that when I made my way into the living room, in the sleepy morning walk toward the bathroom, I saw that it was still in the 7am hour. This day had already refused to be slept away. I was up.
Before starting my trek into what I like to call "town" to get coffee at Floyd's I noticed the droplets of water stuck in the screen of the screen door. I'd managed to sleep through the midnight rain, awaking to its presence dripping from the flowers and trees in the early morning sunlight. The air was cool and fresh. The sounds of nature alive around me. So much of Fire Island parties into the night. Therefore, so much of Fire Island was still asleep. That has never been my M.O. on Fire Island. For me, my week in Cherry Grove is about being in a sanctuary of freedom, friendliness, and beauty; a place where people say, "hello" and "good morning;" a place where showers are outdoors and nude frolics are the beach are ok, encouraged, and met with nothing more than a passing glance.
It takes just a moment to stop and breath, look and see. It's about smelling the roses even when there aren't any roses around. Be. Exist. Soak it up. Life is short and vacations are even shorter. Whether its sitting on the sofa in the living room, lounging on a chaise on that back deck under the shade of that tree with the birds, or sitting under an umbrella on the beach, there is no time, no agenda, no reason for guilt because you're not doing something, no reason to hurry to get something done.