I rowed on the crew team for one semester of college. "Rowed" as in row, row, row your boat...not on a bicycle, which is what may first come to mind. Out of a boat of 8 rowers, I was the 7th best. This was fun, not because I excelled at it but, because it was an organized form of self-punishment and I love to beat myself up. Who doesn't, really? We would get up at 4:30am for training, which involved various forms of torture including, but not limited to, jogging 5 miles to the lake for time "on the water", running stairs in a 10 story building, or rowing 50,000 meters on an ergometer. After practice, at 7:30am, I attended an organic chemistry lecture with another one hundred students. Our lecture hall had a balcony, that I would slip into on days when I was late. I remember struggling not to sleep through class. The best part of being on the crew team for me was not the physical fitness nor the camaraderie. It was the self-granted smugness that I carried around campus. My confidence benefitted the most. I now had an excuse to roll into class covered in cooled sweat, stinking and dirty in whatever I had worn to practice that morning. Any second glance from someone not impressed with my disposition got a look from me that said, "I accomplished more before 4am than you've done all day." This was actually a crew motto. In retrospect, it was a terrible assumption to make but one that motivated the physical punishment we endured, none-the-less.
Today feels like one of those days. I awoke several times in the night to check on a pregnant doe, so getting up at 5:30am to feed the kids their bottles, milk two goats, and feed/water everyone else was not a problem. There is no reason to do this so early except that I feel better knowing my children are still asleep when I'm outside for very long. My 3-yr old surprised me by getting up 6am. This means trouble later when she's tired, cranky and unwilling to take a nap. So after chores, I filtered the milk and cleaned the bottles and pail. Then I started boiling the sap my husband collected last night and made granola with my daughter for our breakfast. Checked on the baby, changed a yucky diaper and nursed her. This was all before 7am, which was when I used to get out of bed. So I'm sitting here in my grubbiness, self-confidence soaring despite my isolation, waiting for that goat to get on with the birthing at hand so that I can take a shower.