Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Alarm Clocks

Wren song, not rooster
Calls feet to the floor each morn~
Big little bugler.

This is a Haiku poem I wrote two winters ago in a fabulous workshop series, "Haiku as Meditation," led by fellow artist/writer, Jenna Weston. 2010 was one of the coldest, snowiest, iciest winters in my eleven years' residence in Western North Carolina, and I was dreaming of spring. Quite different from this year, when dreaming is not necessary, as the daffodils are already in bloom, February 1, and the temperature today is predicted to hit 66 degrees! But let me not digress from my intended topic: the various metronomes we use to pace ourselves.

I don't use a clock radio or alarm clock to signal the start of each day. And yet, I'm up "on time." Yes, the song of the wren does, literally , call me brightly to attention once the windows are open in warm weather, but I am not dependent on her tune. I trust my "inner conductor" to keep me on the beat.

According to "'s Psychology Glossary"
"Circadian rhythms are what people often refer to as the body's internal, biological clock. The typical human circadian rhythm occurs on a cycle of approximately 24 hours. However, the clock is not really functioning on time, but on body temperature. It is just that body temperature fluctuates on somewhat of a regular type of schedule, and so many people often believe that the circadian rhythms are time oriented instead of body temperature oriented. For example, your body temperature begins to increase in the morning (as you wake and start your day) then gets higher during the day while you are active, and begins to drop during the evening, producing feelings of fatigue and preparing for sleep."
I'm only in partial agreement with this definition. First, the temperature thing. If my body is warming up in the morning, then why is it that between 4 am and 7 am I'm most likely to be pulling additional covers up over my body from the foot of the bed and sinking snugly back into dreamland? And, more important, how is it that if I need to be up earlier than my typical 7 - 7:30 am routine, I can just "set my brain" the night before and hit the altered wake up mark exactly? For example, to make a 5:30 am flight or an 8 am appointment on a day I have to attend to "dog duties" before leaving home? I don't lie awake all night worrying that I'm going to oversleep, as someone else who lives with me does. I just "set it and forget it." And finally, I don't think the 'circadian rhythm' definition comes close to explaining how I can know, within five minutes either way, what time it is when awakening in the middle  of the night, before even opening my eyes and certainly before getting them to focus om the blurry red digital readout across the room.

Nope, I don't like pressure; I don't appreciate sudden starts. I'm going to continue marching to my own drummer, thank you very much, at least till the windows officially open to the songs of the upcoming season.

"When you rely on something without question, that is called 'trust'.
When you turn the corner and you run into yourself,
Then you know that you have turned all the corners that are left."
Author Unknown

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