Sunday, July 05, 2009

Good morning New Jersey

Being awake very early is one of my most favourite things. Doesn’t happen very often as I rarely fall asleep before 2am, being more of an owl than a lark. Not that I’m out partying, just reading and writing late. Jet lag is brilliant: when I fly back to America from Europe I wake at 6am for at least a fortnight whilst my body adapts to New York’s time zone. I’m always amazed at how much I accomplish when I’m up early.

I woke at 830am this morning which, for a Sunday, is unprecedented. Summer's humidity normally makes for disturbed sleep and late wake-ups, but the temperature dropped here in New Jersey last night. It was cool enough for an embroidered shawl around my shoulders at the Independence Day fireworks on the beach in Long Branch, and we slept without aircon and with the sash windows flung up.

There is a bird squawking in a tree outside my bedroom window which is probably the cause of my waking, but I don’t mind. There’s a particular quality of still out here in the country when no one is around bar the wildlife.

When I moved out here I didn’t expect to see so many animals: groundhogs scuttle across lawns, rabbits perch casually on kerbs, whiskers twitching, and deer & their fawns stand motionless in gardens, regarding me as I whizz past on my bike on my daily early evening exercise route.

The house is in a community of other equally large clapboard homes, all standing proud in their couple of manicured acres with a flagpole flying the Stars & Stripes, a pool out back, a basketball hoop and an SUV in the driveway and a large mailbox standing sentry. I am endlessly fascinated by the people who might choose to live in these places but I rarely see anyone, bar the odd solitary jogger or dogwalker and the ordered teams of Hispanic workers who tend the shrubs and lawns in rotation.

So goodbye to my fantasy of bumping into Colt’s Necks’ version of a young Patrick Dempsey mowing the lawns in Can’t Buy Me Love. The lawn guys are cheery and always wave back as I ride by, but they aren’t quite Patrick Dempsey.