Thursday, September 28, 2006

Frosty Morning

It is mornings like this that really take me back!

There has been a light drizzle and the air has that chill in it telling you that cold air is on its way down from Canada (or wherever it is that they import their cold air from here in the UK... Scotland, I suppose). When I was in college, mornings like this were the perfect opportunity to put on my sweatshirt and watch the rain fall with the windows open and a cup of coffee.

Of course, this usually annoyed my roommate, but I did it anyway. It is the kind of weather that back in Miami would cause all the old ladies to start making plans to get the furs out of the refrigerated vaults that they are stored in for ten months every year.

I remember one particular morning like this back in my college days. The youth group of which I was a part had gone on retreat to a conference center that was little more than an old orange grove that had gone bust. Some cleaver investor had bough the house, the grounds, and the out-buildings and had turned it into a rustic retreat. (I wonder if this place is still there. It wasn't that far from the train station in Sanford...)

Anyway, for some reason I was unable to sleep that particular morning and the only people stirring were me and the staff of the conference center. I donned my jeans, a pair of deck shoes, and a UCF sweatshirt and headed down to the main floor. Passing through reception I was greeted cheerfully by the night manager who offered me a cup of coffee.

Coffee in hand, I headed out to the veranda. (This place was built in what I think of as the old - pre-air-conditioning - Florida style; huge screen windows which could be covered with glass panes in the winter, enormous wooden shutters to cover them in the storm season, pine floors, high ceilings and best of all, an enormous porch that wrapped around all four sides of the building.) I headed out to a chair on the eastern side of the building and looked over the lawn to the groves and the blue-gray sky beyond.

The sunrise was a dazzling display of reds and ambers and purples. Oblivious to me, the sunrise, the chill in the air, the drizzle (that was really more of a palpable mist than a rain) and seemingly everything but the grass it was contentedly nibbling, a deer came grazing through the high grasses at the edge of the grove. It was the best part of the day.

But my reveries are taking place a long way from an idyllic lawn in central Florida in the early 80s. It is the mid 00s (...we have yet to come up with a name for this decade... how about the "Ooze?") and I am sitting at my kitchen counter in the corporate house in London; looking at the same kind of rain. The air has that same feeling. I know that while I will probably not see any deer on my ride to work (which should start soon) it is not unheard of for me to see a fox or two at this time of the morning.

But, I guess I should put down the PDA, get into the office and get on with my day. One can only spend so much time woolgathering.

I hope that wherever you are today is memorable for you.

Don Bergquist - 28 September 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

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