I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
— Dr. Seuss
For a while now, I’ve been banging awake around five o’clock in the morning, but I languish for a time in that warm you’re-comfy-and-you-know-it zone of semi-sleep, until I eventually grab myself by the face and drag myself out of bed. Before I leave the room, I make sure to crack both of my ankles; the small hallway connecting us to my daughter’s bedroom has the acoustic qualities of a finely-crafted orchestra hall, and when those joints decide to thud out there in the pre-dawn gloom, it sounds like a damn car accident. My poor, stupid, oft-broken and oft-sprained ankles have woken my daughter up more times than I can count when they decide to pop on a pivot, so I always try and remember to kick out the jams before I use the door.
Snap crackle pop, then through the door on cat’s feet down to the den. It’s nice: I used to be a very solitary animal, an only child who lived alone for years, and despite the absolute joy and astonishing privilege of all my baby/wife/etc. responsibilities, a part of me will always be the sibling-less kid building universes in his imagination alone in his room, who still worships the stillness of solitude. I get some of that in my mornings; it is the only time I have to myself before the wife and the girl emerge and the day gets itself well and truly underway.
We live in very rural New Hampshire, and do not have access to town water. My well is almost 400 feet deep and taps an aquifer that roars in the dark beneath a stout granite shelf. We had the water tested to make sure there was nothing harmful to my daughter, and the testers told us they had never, ever come across water as pure and perfect as what comes out of our ground. Before I go to bed each night, I pour a glass and place it on a kitchen windowsill next to a barely-cracked window … and then, in my mornings, with the first hues of sunrise tickling the mountain, I drink deep of the blood of the Earth cooled to perfection by the breath of the wind and spiced with the ever-growing chorus of the peepers in the woods.