I’m just watching my breath leave my lips. One exhalation at a time, pluming into a small cloud of moisture in front of my eyes. I've been watching my breath leave my lips for some time now. My eyes are wide open but my brain is slow in its thinking, like a car unable to idle at a good RPM in the cold. In the dim morning light, the dark shades of the tent fabric seem spotted like a dark photo with a bad camera. I struggle to make sense of the dark. I can tell that the clouds of moisture leaving my lips have been condensing and crystalizing on the inside of the tent. If I were to move my head in a certain way, the thin layer of ice formed on my sleeping bag from my breath would surely shatter and sprinkle onto my face. So I remain still. I wonder if my partner is in the same mode. Maybe it’s a stalemate, neither of us intent on being the first to unzip out of our sleeping bags. It’s not that I want to read the tent's warning label over and over again. I’ve read the warnings not to cook in the tent too many times to count and by now I'm very fully aware of how flammable this tent is. I also am quite familiar with the tent composition, nylon, nylon and more nylon. It’s not that I don’t want to experience the amazing day that we have ahead of us. We’ll be on top of some pointy place up high and smile. We’ll laugh on the way up and laugh some more on the way down. It’ll be a good day, it’ll be a sunny day, but if on this day we want to reach our high point, the ephemeral climax, we need to get up early. Very early. Why does early have to be so cold? My sleeping bag is warm now, unlike the rest of the night; leaving it will mean losing all that warmth. My fingers will freeze on the cold cooking pots and my numb thumb will feel like it’s splitting as I wheel the flint of the lighter to get the white gas sparked. I’ll shiver with blocks for feet and while waiting for our water for the day to thaw out, I’ll be wondering how much walking it’ll take to get the blood flowing into my frozen toes. The tent fabric is shuffling under a light breeze. A breeze that will make it its mission to strip me of every piece of warm air I might have around me. Thinking about it isn’t helping. As I watch each warm breath of air leaving my mouth, I find the swirling and the shape shifting of the cloud of air hypnotizing. Time is clicking away slowly. My alarm went off minutes ago but it has felt like hours as I try to come to terms with it. It’s a cold morning. I see my breath this morning. The more I ponder, the less I’m motivated. Once I unzip my sleeping bag, I’ll sit up intent on putting a warmer jacket on. I’ll have to shuffle around as the frozen condensation inside the tent sprinkles down on everything I want to keep dry. Right now, my finger is on the sleeping bag zipper but… I wish I could just st… Ah, screw it.
Another morning is waiting.