Setting aside the 4:30 sunrise and my tall curtainless bedroom windows, the way I know it's morning is by the morning sounds.
First are the birds. Some unknown, unseen breed hangs and tweets together in the beauty- and pollenful trees lining the parking lot just around the corner from my newly sunbeamed bed. Sun comes up, the little birds squeal with - what? With surprise, gratitude, annoyance, plan-making? How do they get anything done with all of them squawking at once? The birds we can see, if we open our eyes and don't turn away for one more hour of sunlit sleep, are the big grey and white breed. These chatty, flirty gulls swoop around outside my corner unit taunting the baby as he chirps back at them from his impotent perches inside, sometimes following them from one room's window sills to another as he cries in his baby voice ("I want to play!") and they laugh at him. Why the flocks of seagulls visit us every morning, I don't know, but they come just around dawn and stay until just after the arrival of the next morning sound.
First train of the day is the 5:53, so I would never need to set an alarm if I wanted to get up by 6:00. Our trains announce their arrival with a bell, not a horn blast, an almost pleasant series of dings and then the squeal of brakes and the white noise of an idling train engine. They come and go, the bells and engines, on the half-to-quarter hour, for the next couple of hours.
Roadwork begins at 6:59. If I'm still in bed then, I can close my eyes, lie very still, and imagine myself in a long metal tube, but the MRI sounds are not slicing and photographing my brain, they're tearing up the street so that tomorrow they can pave it again so that tomorrow they can tear up the street so that tomorrow. . . .
Just before dawn, the promise of morning is often heralded by the pitter-patter of dainty, too-long-nails galloping through the house in a fit of alien-invasion-of-cat. This is Georgie, our night runner. Buddy sometimes joins the chase, forgetting she doesn't like to play with him, but more often, he waits for her to re-settle on the bed huffing and puffing from exertion and purring her little broken-voice-box, angst-equals-love purr. With Georgie at as-close-to-peace as she will get, Buddy then hops down, crunches what's left of his dinner in the next room, and then joyfully announces the coming of day with a monologue or two in the form of a Siamese ring tone. Then he jumps up into the window sill, chirps at the gulls, jumps back down to the floor or bed (one choice louder than the next), to make sure I've heard: morning has broken. Then jumps back up to the window to enjoy the show until the gulls head back to the beach, the trains arrive, and I've decided to accept the gift of a brand new day.