Why I Should Never Get Up before Dawn.

The other day I was startled awake by a dream. I had won exactly $43.2 million on some lottery or another. l soon realized it was just a dream, and that it was still dark outside. The green digits on the alarm clock told me it was 5:50 a.m. great-horned owl ud26Husband was already up, of course, and I could sense a whiff of espresso coming from the kitchen. But he’s an early bird of some sort, and I’m a night owl. As real as they come.

You see, after four years of getting up at exactly 4:15 a.m. to take my regular 7 a.m. flight to Washington D.C. and often beyond, I was done with early mornings. This night owl returned to her natural sleeping patterns as soon as she became her own boss. And her own scheduler. At least seven hours of sleep from early hours of the day until after sunrise. A recipe for a perfect day.

So there I was, my eyes open. Bumble was sleeping sideways in the middle of the bed, snoring. I wanted to go back to sleep, but after just losing over $43 million in a blink, I couldn’t.

Bumble sleeping 2 UD26

I was fully awake. And the smell of coffee soon lured me into the kitchen. Husband looked up from his laptop like he was seeing a ghost, but only said “you’re early”. Quietly. He knows it’s not advisable to start any kind of intellectual exchange with me at that hour.

coffee machines 2 ud26

I could never imagine operating the espresso machine first thing in the morning, so I turned to my faithful Keurig. It knows what I want. And despite having to wake up at this unusual hour, it managed to make me a mug of decent coffee. I walked to my office to enjoy the life affirming brew. And to read some blog posts. Wisely, I didn’t comment on any of them. But I’m sure some early risers among blogging friends lifted an eye brow seeing a “like” from me at that hour.

Soon my world started to turn red. The first rays were coloring the sky above the bay. It was beautiful. A reward for getting up early, I thought.

sunrise over the bay 2 ud26Looking out, I got a brilliant idea. I would surprise Mama Osprey by appearing at sunrise on the bay side where she usually starts her day. So out I went. And met the young Great Blue Heron right at our pool. He’s not shy, as many of you know. He walked around the pool and calmly posed for the camera. I chuckled and shot away. Even considered forgiving him the attacks on the osprey nest last spring. But the light was so dim that of all the photos I took, only this one was salvageable. Later it was obvious to me that the camera has far more settings than the espresso machine. I should remember that for the future.

young blue heron at the pool ud26

Then I walked across the street onto the bay side without an incident. And spotted a huge flock of young Brown Pelicans, I’m guessing forty to fifty, silhouetted against the sun just peeking over the horizon. There was a chaotic flying, diving and eating frenzy all over the bay. I had never seen anything like that and happily shot away. About 160  frames capturing their non-stop action. Against the sun most of the time. It couldn’t be that bad, could it? You guessed it. Yes it could. And it was. Of all the fast action by these wildly entertaining pelicans, only two lame pictures were almost worthy of posting. Most shots were just showing a blur of pelicans on the top of each other, dark silhouettes, or pink water splashing around. But I didn’t know it at the time, of course. I almost never look at my pictures until at home.

pelican diving ud26 pelican at sunrise 2 ud26

So strengthened by having captured such lively action, I walked towards the sailing center. The sun was now looking over the bay from a somewhat higher position.

sunrise on the bay ud26

I heard osprey speak. Looking around I continued walking. And right then my foot found a large hole in the grassy patch I was crossing. A perfect trap. Everything flew around in the air. But only my knees hit the ground.  My equipment wasn’t broken and my ankle wasn’t badly sprained. Redeeming piece of luck right there. Getting up, I spotted Papa Stanley sitting high up on Marriott’s lower roof behind me. He wasn’t scanning for fish. Instead he had turned to look down on me. Sympathetically.

papa osprey at sunrise ud26

And soon I discovered Mama Sandy too. She was sitting on a wind measurement device at the sailing center. And had also turned around to look at me. I thought they’d both seen my fall and wanted to offer some consolation to this poor night owl with no wings. Or maybe they knew I needed some compassion after looking at my 220 frames from that morning? They didn’t tell.

mama osprey at sunrise ud26

After finding both of them, I decided I’d tried my luck enough for one day, and returned home for a second cup of coffee. Inspecting the results of my worst photo shoot ever, I came to the conclusion that I should never get up before dawn. And try to act normal.

Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, I hope you got up on the right foot.

77 thoughts on “Why I Should Never Get Up before Dawn.”

  1. Even your “bad” pictures are good! I’m an early bird, but that means evening events require that I be highly caffeinated. Early mornings mean I usually can spot a family of raccoons and the songbird chorus is in full swing.

    1. Thanks Michelle. I was quite disappointed in my abilities that morning. Too early for me. Luckily I didn’t hurt myself much in the fall. I like the times I can get up just after sunrise and go out little later. The light is better and most birds are out and about. I know there are raccoons in the salt marsh, spotting a family would be amazing.

    1. Thank you Brad! I don’t know how I managed to mess up that bad, but the best thing is to laugh at it all. I guess it was far too early for me 🙂

  2. Great little story, with a chuckle. I am both early bird and sometimes night owl, as I learned to live on less sleep from a previous work situation, though I do sleep more now. I love getting up early on a random morning on holidays to catch the morning chorus of the birds which we have in the bush, as the sun rises, or a beach sunrise, they are all beautiful, but come at a price. Thanks for sharing another interesting and warm side of your life adventure, you have a wonderful natural nack for story telling which is you:-)

    1. Thank you! I’m happy you got a chuckle. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my miserable “catch”, but then I started laughing. I also learned that I have to look where I step, and stop when I want to look for birds. I’m grateful nothing broke in the fall. Life is full of adventures, big and small 🙂

      1. Sounds a lot like me and my laughable antics at times, especially when I almost trod on a snake and my brand new telescopic lens hit the path but survived the fall amazingly:-)

        1. A snake!! I always try to look where I walk, just in case a stick is actually a snake, but here I was lured by the well cut grass. Happy your lens survived, and so did mine 😀

  3. I used to be an early riser, naturally. Now not so much. The earliest I rise is usually around 8.30 unless I have an early appointment somewhere. There were times I was a night owl also. I change course every few years it seems. 😉 Great pictures and I’m glad you didn’t hurt yourself. ‘Normal’ is highly overrated.

    1. I agree that “normal” is overrated 🙂 I’ve always been a night owl. Used to do my best studying at college between midnight and three in the morning. The commuter years were tortuous for me. I still don’t know how I managed to drive to the airport and always catch my flight – where I usually got almost two more hours of sleep. Have a wonderful rest of the week, my friend!

    1. Glad you liked the story, Amy. The sunrises on the bay and the sunsets on the ocean are beautiful. I witness many more of the latter 🙂 I liked how both Ospreys looked at me. Like offering some consolation after my fall.

    1. The light is beautiful both morning and evening. I usually don’t see the pre-dawn glow, other than on these rare occasions. My ankle feels okay now and I’ve been walking on it quite a bit already yesterday, and today even more. Learned that holes can be covered by evenly cut grass 🙂

    1. I wouldn’t take back those commuter years for any sort of money! And I hope to wake up reasonably early, just after sunrise, on more mornings as the colors are amazing 🙂

        1. Oh – I remember feeling stressed planning how to manage that money, so I didn’t really miss the big winnings when I woke up. But of course it would’ve been nice to find a coupon with smaller winnings under my pillow 😀

  4. Tiny, I am howling here laughing so hard I am just about snorting. Yes I snort when I laugh hard so that would make me a what? A pig? You are an owl and I am a pig …. hmmmmm ……. You are SO funny! OMGOSH! Your images stunning of course but it was your narration that held my attention! Dear heavens, I am still laughing! I do hope your ankle is all right and thank goodness your equipment did not break! Now that would have been a disaster, because I KNOW how much things cost these days. Really really enjoyed this, my friend. THANK YOU for the laugh! I needed it like a fish needs water. Speaking of which, I must see to that dark cloud that has been hanging over our house. I mean, really??? Enough all ready!!! (((HUGS))) Amy ❤

    1. I actually thought of you, Amy, when I wrote this story earlier today. I was hoping it would make you laugh. I so happy to hear it did!! And all is well as nothing broke in the fall. I learned a lesson though. I can’t continue walking when my eyes are elsewhere. And there will be new photo ops…when I saw the miserable pictures I burst out laughing. That was the best way to get over it. I wish that the sun will shine over your house very soon. Hugs and much love, Tiny ❤

      1. I must remember your plight, Tiny, because I am always walking across grass looking around NOT at the ground. That’s how I got tangled up in dog poop … everywhere I looked around me was poop. You’d think I’d learn. Nope. I just am SO drawn to the beauty around me and as I walk I see something I want to shoot. The right angle appears, the right amount of contrast etc. Maybe I should bring along someone to scout the ground. LOL
        There is no better way to get over a tragedy then with laughter, and here tonight you lifted my spirits immensely. I have a very challenging day tomorrow where I must look my best for someone who is gravely ill and who does not know the extent of what I have been through lately. So a good night’s rest, a good hair day tomorrow (from my lips to God’s ear!), the magic of makeup and lipstick, sparkly jewelry, and beautiful colors worn on me. A scarf perhaps slung around my neck, snappy if you will.
        The sun must come out sometime.
        I listened recently to a short video that encourages those who are in the “dark times” and the rationale for those dark times. I hung on to every word.
        Again, I really thank you for thinking of me. You are quite the story teller and your sense of humor ROCKS!!! Bless you, my friend. Now I go to bed. I unlike you I sleep at night. Do pigs? I wonder. Hehehehehehe …. SNORT! ❤

        1. You made me laugh so hard, Amy!!! I hope you slept well. I can see you today in your best sparkle. I hope your visit will go/went in a way you wanted ❤ We often get encouragement from unexpected sources/places. I'm the same way when I need encouragement….it could be a video, a poem, a quote, Amy's post – and I hang onto every word. And yes, please look where you step…I realized it could've been much worse than the air circus I presented to the ospreys 😀

          1. You made MY day knowing I made YOU laugh, Tiny!!! Hehehehe Life continues to throw these very hard balls in my ball game. Laughter, centeredness, and prayer and of course deep breathing …. I’m hanging on to this laughter. Air circus …. oh MAN I have got the giggles again!!! 🙂 ❤

  5. You captured THOSE terrific osprey, pelican, and sunrise shots that are clearly full of personality, and you call it your worst photo shoot ever? I LOVE these pictures, especially the expressions on the faces of Papa Stanley and Mama Sandy. Go on…get up early another morning. I can’t wait to see the pictures!

    1. You made me smile, Skip. I agree that the expressions on the faces of both Sandy and Stanley after my fall were worth getting up early. I still don’t know what I was thinking shooting the pelican action…probably not thinking at all 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement!

  6. I think you got to see some amazing sights early that morning, and I am glad you did, so you could share them with us! I love understanding our dreams and “To see or win money in your dream indicates that success and prosperity is within your reach. Money represents confidence, self-worth, success, or values” Sounds pretty good to me! Enjoy your sleep. 🙂

    1. Oh, that’s a nice interpretation of the dream! Hopefully the project I’m bidding for will come through… that would be a good outcome. If this night owl will get up that early again, she better learn to fly first 🙂 Thanks Karen.

    1. Thank you, happy you enjoyed. Bumble looks really fluffy and handsome today after a morning visit to the groomer 🙂 He says hi to you!

    1. My ankle is almost back to normal now, just very little swelling left. I went out “on town” this morning, and walking was fine. But the pelican flock shots went to pelicans…

  7. Sadly, both feet are off to a wrong start. But it is nice to meet a fellow night owl. *Screech Screech* (Because no self respecting owl says “who who” at this ungodly hour of the morning.)

    1. Thank you! My ankle is almost as new today, tolerates walking very well now. I love the early morning views as well, but it’s so hard for me to be functional at those hours. The millions happily flew to the birds and haven’t been seen since 😀

  8. It made me smile to see your espresso machine sharing the counter with your faithful Keurig. 🙂 As an early bird who starts to fall apart around 3 pm, your early morning misadventures remind me of my mishaps later in the day. Watching those pelicans must have been amazing, though. And Sandy & Stanley looked kind of surprised to see you at that hour. 🙂

    1. My hubby is an espresso fan, to the point he doesn’t consider K-cup brew as coffee 🙂 I’m sure your evening hours are very similar to my early mornings. I still don’t know how I managed to catch my early flight every singe time, twice a week for four years. That was torture. I agree that Sandy and Stanley looked at me either with surprise or sympathy. They have such incredible sight that I’m sure they saw and heard my fall 🙂

    1. I know she looks much fuller, but I think it was the unnatural angle as she had turned backwards to look at me. I saw her yesterday (when my ankle tolerated some walking again) at the nest, and she was her slim and well-put-together self.

  9. Your nice story kind of confirm my believe that if you are in your backyard it’s never a boring place but a mind boggling special world. I enjoyed your story a great deal Tiny. Thank you my dear friend for the great post. 🙂

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed my early morning escapades, H.J. 🙂 And I agree that it’s a very special, beautiful world out there for those of us who care to go out and take the time to observe it 🙂

  10. If those are your bad pictures then I think I should go back to bed – for the day! Sorry to hear about your fall – Hope you have a great weekend and get to sleep in!

    1. My fall was more a scare than anything else. My ankle was slightly swollen for a few days, and camera equipment is fine. You should have seen the other 200 frames, Kathy, and you would agree with me…lots of pink water, blurry silhouettes, cut off heads and wings….bad. You take wonderful photos whether early or late in the day 🙂

  11. As a fellow sufferer from falling into a hole while prospecting a photo opportunity, I couldn’t help but laugh at your misfortune. When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn.

    I am glad that you took no hurt and even more importantly that your camera gear survived too.

    1. This was actually the second time for me. I didn’t learn the first time, but hopefully now I will. I’m happy that I could swing my gear in the air so it was “unhurt”.

  12. Shame about the $42.3 m, but I think your photos are priceless. Glad you didn’t damage yourself too badly. I’m sure you’re correct about those sympathetic looks. They weren’t laughing at all. 🙂 Your ‘worst’ photo shoot ever is something I would be very proud of. xx

    1. I had to look again to make sure they weren’t laughing 🙂 But they sure saw my “performance”, which luckily ended quite okay. Thanks Sylvia. Have a great weekend.

  13. I’m so glad you weren’t hurt and your camera was intact! Beautiful images and the expression on your osprey friend’s faces are just priceless. I came across an osprey while in California and got a few quick captures..not very good captures but I thought of you when I spied her!

    1. I consider myself lucky because these ospreys are non-migratory and stay here in the vicinity all year round. They know me by now and it was funny that my fall was more interesting than fish that morning. Nice that you saw an osprey while in California!

  14. Ha, ha ~ it seems the early morning dawn agrees with you in the sense of that beautiful sunrise and all your friends waking and beginning their day…and while you may have had a small stumble you definitely were rewarded with some great shots. I love both late nights and early mornings…with the quietness of dawn and the day winning out 🙂

    1. I love the early mornings for their beauty, but somehow they don’t love me back. It takes me some time to wake up on a (for me) normal morning, and that time grows exponentially when I get up before dawn. And things tend to happen. I have never before deleted 200 frames straight to the trash bin or found the only hole in that grassy patch 🙂 Thanks for your nice comment, Randall.

    1. I can chuckle at their expressions too now. I’m lucky I found my way back. If I ever get up at that hour again…I know I have to have two cups before I put my foot out of the door 🙂

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