I'm one of those people who prefers to work at night, when the world has gone quiet. Finally, then, I'm able to think, to speculate, to ponder, and to just write. My academic genius muse works third shift.
This in mind, it's no surprise that I'm not a morning person. Not at all. I hate mornings, in fact. I'd love to stay up till 2am and wake up for the day at 10am.
And yet, here I am, in the office at 7am, after having not left campus last night until after 8pm. For those playing along at home, that means I got home last night at 9:45pm, woke up at 4:30am, and boarded a train at 5:58am.
That train at nearly 6am is a beautiful thing. Metra calls it the Sunrise Express, which is apt -- we watch the sunrise while zooming past a number of stops. The train ride is about half an hour, which shaves at least 15 minutes off the normal commute. And, it's gets us to campus -- with a stop at Starbucks first -- just before 7am.
At 7am, all the little college kids are still sleeping. The town is quiet. The campus is very, very quiet. This is the time of day that people snap photos of deer who boldly venture with their young onto our lush, green campus.
The city, too, was quiet, both walking home last night and walking to the train this morning. At night, I usually stick to the main roads on the walk home, but train construction has lead to the opening of a new train platform, north of Lawrence Ave.. In the interest of time, which is indeed precious at 10pm, it's faster to exit at the north end of the platform and continue along Ravenswood Ave. and through the residential western part of my neighborhood. Walking the quiet streets in the dark (though with ample street light) always makes me hear my worried mother, fretting about me waking home alone. Sure, something bad could happen, but that could happen at any point at any time. I choose to walk home, head high and unafraid.
At day's end, I'll again travel home in the dark, having gone with members of the awesome class* I'm taking to do some fieldwork, and I'll rise even earlier than I did today to head out to do some field observations alone. Like all the nights in grad school that I stayed up late to write, I'll enjoy the quiet that settles in as I walk to the train, the lovely silence quieting the noises in my brain, letting me enjoy simply being in the city I love.
* I'm taking an introductory course in urban planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). it's a mixed undergraduate/graduate class at the 400 level, so while we're discussing material that's new to many, it's still rigorous, engaging, and one of the best parts of my Mondays and Wednesdays. Everyone asks, "So, are you doing another degree?" to which I reply, "Right now, I'm just taking a class." My future is on this path...somewhere. I'm just enjoying the journey and discovery this semester.