Long, deep sleep on chilly November nights is a lovely thing. Warmth under the covers, chill outside, the meringue of soft pillows, the furry insistence of cats plastered to the body. Nice.

Even the three ayem waking wasn’t all that bad: It gave me the view of a butter-colored moon and the sound of…nothing. Insects tranquilized by cold, birds asleep, wind stilled. Just the night and me. The silence and me. The silence in me.

One more waking, around 6:30. To a startling, dreamlike fuscia sky over the little mountain that is my view from the back bedroom window. Closed my eyes to clear my sight, to discover whether the vision was real. Next thing I knew, a half-hour had passed.

A brisk walk in the grey nip, face to the breeze. A half an hour with the freeweights. Shower, coffee, breakfast. And now, a settling in to the tasks ahead.

The day does not belong to me. It belongs to the folks I promised stuff to on Monday. It’s okay. It’s fine. Having the day mapped, knowing what’s ahead…knowing that perhaps some of the time will be mine…it’s part of that conscious gratitude we were talking about, remember?

And there’s another advantage.

The book has been trying to talk to me, despite our forced separation. Like any love, there’s a bit of jealousy going on.

Sorry, can’t spend time with you today.

Oh really, are you seeing other words behind my back?

As a matter of fact, yes….

We’ll see about that. Here’s an idea. Here’s another. Where’s your tape recorder? You’re gonna need it.

So goes this grey and beautiful day.