Dark to light

By Joe Rector

One wonderful thing about retirement is being able to stay up late without having to face work the next day. Some of us who love those late nights also have part-time jobs that require us to hit the floor early. On my workdays, the alarm jolts me awake at 5:00 a.m. I chose the job and knew that many people must rise that early to be at work on time. Even if I stay up late and rise early, I enjoy the time.

The morning world is filled with a quietness that is missing during most of the day. I pass a half dozen cars on the drive to the golf course. The starting of my car seems offensive to the night by breaking the silence and resting in homes around the community. My nosiness makes me wonder where those drivers are going, are they awake, and do they dread the day ahead. The night hypnotizes most living things; howling dogs are curled up into balls and sleeping deeply.

A golf course is a beautiful place. However, it is even more so during the dawn of a new day. As the sun rises, the natural beauty becomes more evident. I’ve seen snapping turtles the size of car tire rims making their ways across the fairways. A skunk or two is heading for its nest after a night of searching for food. At the edge of the woods, a doe and her baby are munching on breakfast. They look at me, hesitate for just a moment, and then scamper deeper into the woods where protection awaits them.

The dew on the grass is thick during those humid, steamy days of August. Any imperfections on greens or tee boxes are hidden with the moisture. Resetting tee markers leaves my socks soaked and my shoes covered with a thick layer of clippings.

Summer brings out hordes of golfers. One man arrives early every day that he plays. Although he has a portable oxygen system on his back, he swings clubs with ease and experiences plenty of success. Two women play together; one walks while the other rides. I’m amazed that they play so early because I’m still mowing with the lights on to see the outline of the boxes.

On those days when I work, I can be found on the couch during the afternoon. My feet are up, and my head is turned to the side as I take a needed nap. The boxes are in good shape for the weekend players. I’ll enjoy late nights for the next couple of days, but on Sunday night, bedtime comes at about 9:00 p.m. Most mornings the alarm never rings. I lie awake well in advance of the time when it sounds. Amy is snug in the bed and Sadie is curled in the crook of her legs to be near her and protect her from harm.

Monday, I’ll once again arrive at the golf course in the dark. The route is branded on my brain, and I can finish many of the tee boxes before the sun comes up. I hope to see the deer again and pray that I don’t encounter a skunk. A little time in the dark is a peaceful, comfortable time. I’m glad to have it.