I Heart Indies

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What You Wake Up To

It occurred to me this morning, the terrible importance of sound you wake up to.  I get up very early, and usually I do so without an alarm; lately, however, my sweet dog, Zoe, has taken to rousing me at 2:30 or so, so I've been woken up by my alarm several days in a row.  My alarm, to be specific, is the sound of chirping crickets.  It is not terrifically convincing: electronic crickets, these.  There is not the subtle depth of sound of genuine crickets, whose noise is layered with soft syncopation of other, more distant crickets, who are chirping at a slightly different rate.  Nevertheless, they are crickets of a sort, and not bad as electronic crickets go.

Anyway, there's a moment between dreaming and full wakefulness when I am those crickets.  I don't want to sound all Zen, but that's exactly what it is.  One moment, I'm hunting the snowy hippopotamus in the wilds of Philadelphia, and the next, I'm Man Martin, thinking about how much money I need to make and how to lose another five pounds.  But in the split between those moments, I am aware that I am not the dream-hunter of hippopotamus, but I have not yet come to myself as the Man Martin of pecuniary interests and weight loss, and there is only the sound of crickets and the knowledge the crickets are for me, that they summon me - and in that peculiar interval between the dreaming identity and the waking, I am the crickets.

Is it possible that having been crickets, even for a split moment, affects the rest of my day?  That some cricket-like perspective lingers with me?

This is why choosing the right alarm is so important.  First, I would advise readers of this blog against using an actual alarm to wake up.  No one should spend a moment of their day being an annoying buzz.  I think being waken up by the radio is also a dangerous gamble: true, for a fleeting moment you might get to be a favorite song you'd nearly forgotten, but it's just as likely to be a traffic snarl or a cold front that will ruin the weekend.  Even if you don't briefly become the first sound you hear upon waking, even if it doesn't subtly shape you for the entire day, nevertheless, it is the first sound, and for goodness' sake, it should be a nice one.

The best sound to wake up to would be the merry chirping of birds or the soft snoring breathing of your sweetheart beside you, but these are luxuries I cannot indulge in except for on weekends, so I make do with what I have.  But there is one other setting on my alarm clock if I could figure out how to use it.  The deal is this, the clock plays crickets all night long, but when the alarm goes off, the crickets stop.  That's it.  So the cessation of crickets is what wakes you.  I think I will try that out.  The crickets are not bad, but again, they are electronic crickets.  If I can manage to sleep through the crickets, it would be nice to wake up to silence instead of noise, and to be - even for that half-moment, silence.  

Just that.  Silence.

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