The communicatrix also rises

In the spirit of Do One Thing Differently, I have been: getting up early.

Now by "early," I do not mean "farm-early" or "elite-athlete" early or even "holy-shit-I'm-late-for-work" early. I mean that I'm actually rousting my own ass from the comfort and security of my delightful bed every morning and...wait for it...WALKING!

It started in sort of a grudging, half-assed way, as many things do. Way back in November, The BF got a dog, a.k.a. Arno J. McScruff, a.k.a. the Furry Love of My Life. We walked the dog together when I was there, and I'm fairly sure that most of the time, The BF walked the dog when I wasn't there. Except when he didn't, which I started to realize was kind of often and almost certainly irregularly, because if there's one person who hates morning with an even greater vengeance than I, it is The BF.

Still, even if they weren't walking as much as that dog whisperer dude said you were supposed to, at least they were hanging out together most of the time. And that was the main thing to me: that this unending and fur-covered source of unconditional love get a little back, in the form of human companionship.

But then The BF got an onsite job, which meant leaving the house, which meant leaving Arnie. Alone. And what I wouldn't do for myself, interrupt whatever Unbelievably Important Thing in my life that I was doing to take even the mildest of exercise, I realized I would do for this dog. AND drive 11 miles round-trip, to do it.

If I happened to wake at my place, I usually would wait until afternoon to make the trip. (Animal freaks please note that he was well-fed and watered, with a fine yard in which to frolic and poop, and 24/7 access to said frolic/poop-land via doggy door.) When I'd overnight at The BF's, however, I'd take care of the walk first thing, and early, so as to miss the morning rush hour traffic home.

No one was more surprised than I was to discover how much I enjoyed the morning walk. Two horrible things put together usually equal one massively horrible thing; this, however, was...kind of nice. Peaceful.

There was something else to it, though, which I kind of hate to admit for fear of sounding (no pun intended) pedestrian: it lent shape to my day. I know, I know: this is the kind of advice you read everywhere from every source, exercise to lifestyle to productivity blog. First things first.

I didn't actually get this until I stopped walking. See, The BF's onsite stint drew to a close, which let me off the hook. Only I realized I didn't want to be let off the hook: I wanted the structure, I wanted the shape. So I started getting up early (7 or 8, for me) and walking first. Before bed-making, before email-reading, before coffee-or-tea drinking. Walking, not running. I understand how incredibly lame this sounds, that in a land of ferocious plenty and a time of ridiculous unease, I am crowing about walking, at an old-lady pace, a grand total of 2.5 miles in the morning. Whoop-dee-fucking-do.

Thing is, what had fallen from my life was that shape. Don't get me wrong: I systematically worked at scrubbing that routine from my life. But some structure? Is good. It's how bridges get built and insurance gets paid for and children get raised properly. And yeah, it's how art gets made, too: let's not kid ourselves. Novels don't write themselves. Neither do blogs, while we're at it. Seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. Wax on, wax off. Do or do not, and all that hoo-hah.

So when I don't write here, know that I'm working on writing elsewhere. Only it appears that the first step, for me, is the walking. (Oh, okay, pun not exactly intended, but it's kind of poeticamal.)

And then slowly, gently, firmly, fold in more structure. It doesn't have to be the hateful, rigid structure of Hateful Day Job. It just has to be...structure.

One day at a time. Starting first thing in the morning.

The early part of the morning...

xxx c

Image by 0range County Girl via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

ADDITIONAL BONUS ITEM: For those of you who don't subscribe to my every move and may have missed postings elsewhere, I was up to something last week...and I documented most of it with my brand new Flip video cam. Here's a taste of instructive pleasures yet to come.