The Tenderness of the Very Early Morning

There is something I love about early mornings, and experiencing the first few hours of the world as it is waking up.  I remember the days when I’d be the cafe opener, and arrive ready for work at 5:45 am, getting everything ready for the customers who would begin streaming in around 7.  There was always something tender, something fragile, as if it would hurt them if we raised our voice at that hour. I had an employee named Alan who seemed not to realize this and he would be loud and somewhat aggressive in that early hour, and it never seemed right.  That’s part of why I didn’t resist when he quit in a huff and walked out. He did not understand early morning tenderness.

Before you have had your coffee you’re in a certain vague, unhinged state. You need to get that first few sips in you, let the caffeine work, and then you’re ready to go about your business and negotiate with the world.  It’s that gentle time in the early morning hours that I enjoy being a part of.   Now I’m sitting outside a cafe in Greenfield, the sun is streaming down and the birds are chirping, and there are people walking all around.  A woman pushes a baby carriage while wearing pajamas. Never understood that, but she sure isn’t alone. A group of three young toughs walk by me, tattooed and somewhat ominous looking—one of them mutters ‘how you doin?’  as if I”m an authority figure they need to placate.

It’s getting louder now at 8:35, where is my breakfast buddy?  Did he forget our meeting? I bet not, he’s just running a little late.  I hold back from ordering here at the Brass Buckle because I want to approach the counter with him at the same time. I have an interesting day ahead and this is just the beginning.  A guy rides past on a bike with a backpack, you can tell he’s not riding that bike for fun, no, it’s a DWI ride, I”m sure he surrendered his license a while ago, and as his destination is the Vic, a dive bar that’s open now serving shots and beers, that confirms my hunch. Ahh Greenfield.  The benches next to the pizza joint are already full, and down the street come more and more folks who look like they spent the night out there.