The mornings are getting dark on this side of the globe. I don’t mind it. I like to get up early while the day is still trapped in this darkness and it makes the mornings feel like a secret place. A quiet place. A place frozen in time. I try to utilise these mornings to capture that feeling. I go into my study, turn on some dim lighting and my little fan heater, and get a couple of things done that are purely for me, so that if the rest of my day is given up to other people or other work, I still had that moment. I get to begin my day with that little slice of quiet ownership.
The darkness aids this. It provides a cover that we all hide beneath, so that even if my neighbours are awake I wouldn’t know it and can continue to feel like the only person in the world at that moment. I think the cold helps too. It means that my little fan heater, which provides some comforting white noise as well as heat, turns my study into a little oasis of calm and warmth, a bastion against the chill of the morning. The thought of that little oasis and that pocket of time that’s all mine makes me want to get up in the morning. It’s worth throwing off the covers and facing the cold because I know it won’t last long and soon I will be tucked away into my private sanctuary once more.
It’s an amazing thing that we can take a space and give it purpose. The room in question was at one time my bedroom, when the house I now share with my wife was still a share-house that also contained my siblings and cousins. At the time, it was still a sanctuary, but a crowded one, filled with all my things and furniture, and then Holly’s as well when she moved in. Following that, it became my cousin’s bedroom, then a generic study, and then my study, with me once more reclaiming the space.
It’s recently had some further changes as well. Aside from being my workspace, it also had a spare bed, which, admittedly, I worked from as well. We sold that on to a couple who lived the next suburb over — they amazingly managed to squeeze it into their VW Golf — and replaced it with a couch we bought from a family out in Mickleham. There were some struggles getting the couch to ours but we got there, and it was worth it because it added another brick to my sanctuary. I then bought one last piece, a little coffee table, which means the space is now a study and studio, as I can attach some microphones to the coffee table and record podcasts from around it.
I’m on the couch right now, writing these words. The fan heater is blowing a warm soft hum beside me and I have a coffee to my right, it’s pleasing earthy and electric taste helping me to wake up. Outside it is dark and quiet. Soon, my time will be up and my day will begin for real, and I will face obligations and commitments and the sun and the cold. But for now, I am hidden within that secret place and couldn’t be happier.