Morning Shadows

I can’t remember the last sunny morning my daughter woke up after 7. This morning she was up at 6 and insistent on not going back to sleep. The sun billowed through our curtains and after making a quick cup of coffee we head outside for an early morning trek across campus. Last Friday we saw a few people out; today we were the only ones. It’s always surprising how empty a campus of 5,000 students (including 1200 residing in the dorms) and hundreds of staff (with about half living in the staff apartments) can be. Occasionally there’s a thin old man out jogging in black running shorts and a black hat. A stouter man shuffles along the sidewalk in a perfectly pressed lion red Kyrgyzstan-Olympics 2014 track suit. But this morning were were alone. Even the security guards seemed to be sleeping in.

As the sun grows hotter, I actually don’t mind my daughter waking up earlier.  By the end of this week temps will be pushing 90.  At mid day the sun beats down on us through the thin mountain air, and we relish our north-facing apartment.  In twenty years the university’s fledgling orchards will fill in and actually provide some respite from the hot, blanched sky.  For now the only shade is in the tea garden behind our building where we sometimes spend lazy afternoon hours.  But soon even afternoon will be hot and still.

I wish I could shape my daughter’s summer sleeping hours to match the sun’s relentless march across the sky, to let us enjoy the relative cool and softer palette of dawn and dusk.  If only I could get her to wake at 6, and then go down for one long nap from 11-3:30 or 4, during the stifling heat of mid-day, and then sleep again after 9, allowing us to stroll in that golden hour after work and then sit outside after the sun begins its lazy slide behind electric pink clouds. As it is now she wakes at 6 or 7, naps after two hours or so for an hour and a half or more, then takes her afternoon nap…sometime (it’s been a little random of late), and then sleeps around 7:30 or 8, at that hour of dusk when the light is at its most beautiful.  As I’m most productive and a natural early riser anyway I almost envy one of the other mothers in our mom-baby swimming class whose own daughter sleeps from 11-11.

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