Dang it, woke up too early

I’m just a simmering mass of anxieties nowadays, so I woke up at 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep.

What really annoyed me, though, is that was about the time my dad would wake us up to go fishing on a charter boat. We’d get up at this absurd hour, and head out to the docks where we’d stop at a restaurant full of salty dogs and chow down on a big platter of pancakes. So now I’m craving pancakes.

Then we’d get on the boat and cruise out over the Columbia bar, which was always a thrill ride that put stomachs full of pancakes at risk, but never bothered me much. Now I want a boat ride on 20 foot swells.

A full day of fishing, catching our limit of salmon early, then dropping our lines down deep and catching a load of bottom fish, cod and halibut, then heading home for a dinner of fresh salmon, and brining the rest for the smokehouse. Now I want my salmon.

This is Minnesota, though, and I’ve got a day of lecturing and grading ahead of me. Need ocean, as long as I’m getting up before sunrise anyway. Do early mornings flood native Midwesterners with memories of milking the cows or harvesting the corn or whatever? Because I’m lacking that connection.


  1. hemidactylus says

    I typically get up at 4:30 am anymore. It is nice to have some time not feeling rushed for work. Read with a clear head devoid of yesterday’s stress and if I don’t talk myself out of it I walk through the neighborhood for around 30 minutes for exercise.

    I have fond childhood recollections fishing early morning with my dad in brackish water either from the shore or on his outboard motored jon boat.

    My dog would usually cruise the shore when we fished canals looking for the stinkiest rotten fish carcass to roll around on. He was ecstatic about that for some reason. He would swim into the canal to fetch sticks sometimes. Too bad you gotta grow up and can’t stay frozen in those idealized memories.

    The fishing was fun. Actually eating caught local fish wasn’t. Or dad wasn’t the best chef. The only fish that didn’t disgust me back then was freshwater catfish. The rest usually tasted and smelled fishy.

    I do like salmon.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    My parents used to get up early to work at our north Swedish farm -this is why I missed out on watching Neil Armstrong walk on the Moon: It was necessary to go to bed early, so we only watched the lunar landing.

    -One thing you Minnesotans can think about when you are unable to sleep: If a relatively minor university in a place like Umeå can produce a Nobel Price (Charpentier) it shows that by specialisation even smaller places can produce world-class results (I can sadly not take any credit).
    I am unfortunately unable to think of something spider-related. Webs? Industrial-scale webs for pests? Egg sacs as fashion statements?
    Unrelated fun fact: The Orange One is upset that the Peace Prize went to an organisation that is doing unimportant stuff like solving world hunger :-)

  3. Bruce Fuentes says

    I was born and spent a lot of time on the other coast. My father was not much of a fisherman or outdoorsman. As he grew up in Puerto Rico and New York City I think that is understandable. My memories of early morning ocean fishing are my uncle taking us to Marblehead Harbor in Massachusetts, to catch flounder and crab. Also, my older cousins taking us out in Casco Bay in Maine to catch Striped Bass. I have many memories of watching the morning sun come up over the ocean.
    I don’t really get any of that here in NW Wisconsin. The only fishing I do these days is a week at Big Cut Foot Sioux in northern MN and a fly in trip to Canada. Walleye fishing in Canada tends to spoil ya. I catch more in a couple hours there than I do 4 days in MN or in a week in WI.

  4. JoeBuddha says

    I grew up here in the great NW, and was always next to water. We would fish and clam the sound all the time, and the bottom fish were awesome. When I was older, I went to New York City to do a performance. We were there for a week, and it was weird. Sure, the trees were different, but mostly the ocean was on the wrong side. Couldn’t wait to get back home.

  5. brightmoon says

    Native newyorker here if I get waked up that early it’s because snow has fallen and the garbage trucks are plowing . Or the police helicopters are looking for someone . Or there’s a fire or other emergency on the block. Must be nicer to have just crickets or some other natural sound wake you in the middle of the night or planning to having a day in nature with other than the street trees . We do have crickets and some wildlife (including the occasional coyote), in the city but most noise is from cars and other vehicles .

  6. garnetstar says

    It’s corn. Grew up in Ohio, now I’m a corn snob. Can’t buy it in a store, must get it fresh-cut from the farr that afternoon and eat it at most hours later. Must have a certain variety: the best have small kernels that are a pale yellow, very fresh and sweet, not those big egg-yolk yellow fibrous tasteless ones. I recall that “Seneca Chief” was a prized variety.

    Must steam it lightly, never boil it! And eat from the cob while it’s hot, it’s so good that you don’t need butter or salt.

    Haven’t eaten corn for decades because I no longer live there.

  7. magistramarla says

    I’ve gotten used to not hearing frogs anywhere that we have lived for some time. Out here on the Monterey Peninsula, it feels as though we are living in the Animal Kingdom. Our backyard has had visits from an opossum, a skunk and a family of raccoons. A neighbor on the next street caught a mountain lion on his security camera. Someone else videoed a family of bobcats sauntering down the street.
    We had a couple of frogs move into our garden for a while. Their nightly noise kept me awake. One night, they got so loud that they woke the blue jays who live in the oak tree just outside of our bedroom window. The jays scolded for a good ten minutes!
    The frogs moved on, and I recently read a post from a lady in a nearby neighborhood who was complaining about loud frogs in her backyard.

  8. Jado says

    PZ – Being awake a 4:30 AM doesn’t fill me with nostalgia about getting up early; it fills me with nostalgia about staying up late drinking. Apparently true male comradery starts around 2:30 am after the bars close and you head to someone’s kitchen to continue the night by drinking their blackberry brandy that they bought for that one party 10 years ago and haven’t touched since. Or so I remember blurrily.

    Watching the sun come up with your friends while slowly turning sober enough to walk the 20 blocks back to your own house is the definition of mid-20s friendship to me. I miss it (especially the ability to recover quickly).