Thursday morning, Seattle.

sun peeking out over the fog line
I force myself awake at 5:45am, knowing that I'll be back on eastern time tomorrow, and that the transition will be ugly at best. My budget hotel room is trashed - a combination of fatigue, tight schedules, the lack of a closet (a serious design flaw for a hotel), more dirty clothes than clean ones, and my ever-present messy inclinations have covered every flat surface in travel detritus; spare change, taxi receipts, used coffee cups and water bottles, half-read magazines.

I pad around the room quietly, knowing that my colleague is in the adjoining room, and wanting more than anything to not wake her. Shower, start packing, padding around the room as something quiet plays from the computer speakers.

The sky's starting to lighten. Yesterday we walked to the top of Queen Anne and took pictures of the ridiculously pink and purple sunrise...the Needle and Mount Rainier combining with the colors to look surreal; a cell from an animated movie about an alien civilization. I could walk back up, but my sneakers are packed, and the suitcase stays closed until Virginia, sixteen hours from now.

I toss a sweater on, tuck some cash and my phone into the back pocket of my cords and zip-zop my way out of the hotel. The air is cool - I maybe shouldn't have packed my coat, it's that chilly. But the slight breeze and the humidity feels refreshing...an easy wake up of sorts. There's a tiny coffee house about a block and a half away, and I make a beeline for it. I grab the weekly arts paper from the machine on the sidewalk in front of the shop, place my order and install myself at a table by the window. The baristas make conversation with just about everyone who comes through the door...there are many regulars in this tiny spot. A woman with a shoulder-length cerise bob and grey wellies walks in while her husband in his knit cap waits outside with their bull mastiff. I can't help it - I have to go outside and introduce myself. Sadly, Gracie is much more concerned with getting into the store than my affections. I settle back in for more people-watching, more reading, more daydreaming.

For once, I don't check email. No pictures. No scrolling the phone to see what I've missed.

It feels good to just be.

This song was recorded not far from where I am, and it fits perfectly in with the morning.

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