Star Light Star Bright

First star I see this morning…

Not the way it’s usually said, I know, but this is the way of it in my world. I’m up around 5 am, even on weekends, not because of an alarm clock but because my internal alarm has said this is when my day begins. I go from rock solid sleep to wide awake in a nano-second.

My friends always ask me how I do it? I don’t really know, I’ve always been wired this way. And I seem to be the only one in my family who is. “Sleeping in” happens for me 3 or 4 times a year, which means not getting out of bed till 6 or 7 am, something that usually only happens when I’m sick and never just because I stayed up too late. Bedtime for me is a moving target, in the winter I want to go to bed as early as 7 or 8 (but usually don’t actually get there until after 10) in the summer I sleep when it’s dark. Days last nearly 24 hours during summer in Alaska, but my body seems to require almost no sleep during those periods of prolonged daylight. I guess my circadian rhythm is Alaskan too.

Mornings are peaceful and I’m so glad I don’t sleep through them. The stars are my silent friends as I slip outside (hopefully not literally) for morning feeding. The quiet crunch of the frozen grass is the only sounds as the dogs greet me at the gate.

As I make my way across the yard I wonder about the long term effects of the polar vortex that has brought unseasonably warm temperatures to our corner of the world, robbing us of the snow that should be everywhere this time of year. I worry about the plants and trees, naked without their snowy blanket to insulate and protect them from the bitter cold. The speculation is we will be returning to normal temperatures, meaning our cold weather will be back soon, with a vengeance I bet. It’s always darkest before the dawn and coldest before the thaw.

My morning walk is darker without the snow, moon and stars have nothing to reflect off of. Even so, I’m still more than comfortable to walk alone in the dark. I know nothing can get past my polar bears and my eyes see rather well without the distraction of artificial light.

Night Sheep
Sheep prefer to sleep under the stars when weather permits

The warm nights have brought the sheep out to sleep under the stars. Like me they know they are safe under the their guardians protection. They rise quietly as I approach expecting treats and affection. The barn comes alive when I enter, roosters begin crowing as if the artificial light doesn’t signify morning until I open the door. The dogs wait quietly while I dole out the hay, some treats, and a scratch or two to the fluffy flock.

Once the sheep are fed I turn my attention to my quiet polar pups. An ear rub for Mia and a butt scratch for Al. I’ve noticed their fluffy undercoat is starting to come out, reminding me that I want to collect it for a spinning project.  I worry that February will be colder and they should be holding on to these warm bits a little while longer but I don’t know how to explain this to them.

The cold air crystallizes the moisture on the trees flocking them with ice

Mother nature has fooled many of us this year, the sap is flowing in the trees already and the dogs are starting to shed. I’m going to have to watch the temperatures closely but without the snow for insulation I’m not sure how much I can do too save some of my plants and trees. Even in the dark I stop to admire the hoarfrost on the trees, wondering if it is enough to put them back to sleep.

I love this part of my day so much I almost don’t want to go back inside. But the coffee is calling and everyone is still asleep so I know I am free to just be, for a little while anyway.

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