There is no alarm because you catch it and cancel it out an hour ahead of time. Might as well just get the hell up. The night has been sleepless, or if there has been sleep it came without conscious acknowledgement and you didn’t know it happened until it was just time to get up. After lying there and stewing, turning from a pins-and-needles side to a sore side, and back to a pins-and-needles one, you just get the hell up.
The coffee is instant because you don’t want to wake the whole house with that brewing aroma. Today’s instant is a lot better than that chemical shit they used to have, those crystals crusted like brown alakali and tasting about the same. Do they still make that crap? Is it even legal? Does anyone buy it? Goddamn.
In the headlights after you crank the key to warm up the pickup, the first flakes are just coming down. But as you turn out the drive, it is a blizzard and there are four hours ahead. Four hours on a good morning let alone a bad morning.
Four hours on the road for one day of hunting. Then four hours back. Seems about right. The snow is sideways now and this fucking travel mug won’t fit in your cup holder and it spills all over the floor when you hit the brakes for a deer coming up out of the whiteness like Ebenezer’s undigested bit of meat. You miss the deer but not your carpet with lukewarm coffee and you lament it for a while, but it’s just as well, for you need both hands on the wheel.
The road is white, the world is white and all you see is blizzard. Flake and a little light on the dash that reads FOUR WHEEL DRIVE in steady, sturdy, calming amber. You see a reflector post and then nothing and then another reflector post and you ease for the centerline rumble strips which you feel through the steering wheel. Still on the road. Good. And sideline rumble strips? Yep, they are there too. Hope this shit doesn’t last all night.
An hour goes by, though, and your shoulders knot and you remember to flex your fingers, first one hand, then the other, careful to steady the wheel, careful to make no sudden moves, careful to keep one hand on there at all times. Cramped. Tense. You pull over. Have to. Can’t see shit. Send a text: Whiteout. Gotta stop for a bit.
Hope there’s some birds.