• Marilyn Gardner Woods

wake-up call

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

My alarm these days is a low-throated, drawn out rumble. I arrive from the land of nod to the state of consciousness each morning at 6:30.



What awakens me daily with the gentleness of my mother’s touch and soft voice whispering, “time to get up,” in the early school days of my youth is a powerful jet airplane, the first of the day to takeoff from San Diego International Airport. The welcome sound of my airborne alarm, a soft hum, unlike the many options on my iPhone—buzz, beep, siren—is a basso profundo murmur that fills the dayspring sky and coaxes me from my slumber.


As I plump my cloud-soft pillow, stretch and roll over, the sky shudders outside my open balcony door as the first airplane of the morning lifts off. And then one by one, no more than three or four minutes apart, sleek silver airliners depart from the runway in soaring cadence.

There is no other sound.





My bed lies perpendicular to the runway, which runs east to west very near the Pacific Ocean two miles from my home and my sunny second floor bedroom.


As the planes embark into the skies, I imagine obedient passengers have buckled their seat belts, flight attendants have offered safety options and the pilot has greeted his captive audience. And then the drink carts and pretzels will move down the aisles.

Slowly I turn back my covers preparing to disembark, just as the low gentle roar, actually more of a purr, of another airborne plane carrying travelers on all sorts of missions fills the morning air. Caught up in its slipstream I rise, and I take off.


I love your thoughts, sweet friend. They sort of help propel me into the new month!  Thank you for being you and for sharing yourself with me and others.  What a gift! Shirley


John D Mingay For 15+ years Cathay Pacific Airlines would wake me up at 2.00-2.30am as it came in to land at Vancouver International. It usually came in over the North Shore Mountains and the approach would vary, but the noise did not. Being a light sleeper I could imagine the anticipation of the passengers of either coming home or arriving in a strange land for their first visit. I got to the point of just being aware most nights, but sometimes would be wide awake, wondering how I would like to be landing in a strange land at 2.00am!



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