The alarm clock goes off with an irritating, mechanical e ala e. Time to get the day under way. Throttle the noise and take a few minutes to enjoy a warm cocoon. Cyrano's nose is covered by his tail. He's in a nest halfway down the bed - just where he can trap his human's legs during the night. 'A 'ole pilikia. Just slide sideways to turn over.
Out of the cocoon. Cyrano opens his eyes briefly. No need for him to rise until his alarm, otherwise known as a stomach, goes off. Feet on the cold floor. Search for slippers. It's a wonder how a thin slab of rubber can warm naked feet.
A soft, chill breeze through open jalousies raises goose bumps on arms. (Chicken skin is generated from inside, not outside. At least, that's the way it seems.) Grab a sweat shirt and head for the kitchen to make a pot of hot coffee.
Too bad the batteries in the thermometer died. It feels as if the temperature is in the 60s. The Maui News' AccuWeather reports lows Tuesday of 71 in Kahului, 69 in Makawao and an incredible 67 in Lahaina. As usual the top of Haleakala had the island's lowest temperature, 52.
Using Kahului's low temperature and subtracting 3 degrees for each 1,000 feet of elevation means Waikaloa, 3,000 feet up, had a low of around 62. Maybe lower. A couple of days of much-needed rain has soaked the ground. A wet landscape plus low temperatures add up to a chill that is as much felt as measured.
A side note: AccuWeather just repeats reports from the National Weather Service, which uses automated, satellite-connected sensors on Maui. It's been a long time since the island had its own weatherman. Roger Kawasaki was the man who took forecasts written in Honolulu and turned them into forecasts that took Maui's many weather areas into consideration. His work married art to long years of experience.
The Central Maui forecast for Thursday calls for a low of 67 and a high of 71 at the Kahului Airport. The cold time of year has arrived about a month early. Record lows in December ranged from a 55 in 1967 to 53 in 1983.
The official all-time low temperature recorded on Maui was 48 degrees in 1969. Kihei was only 1 degree warmer. Records don't indicate the date, but it was probably in February, traditionally the coldest month of the year.
Visitors from northern climes may walk around in their swimsuits and laugh at locals wearing sweaters and jackets. They don't understand how living on Maui gives residents the ability to feel - and suffer through - any temperature much below 75. Most residents can feel a drop of 5 degrees.
Hawaiians who greeted weather with a minimum of tapa clothing had two seasons, warm, mostly dry months (kau or kau wela) and colder, wetter months (ho'oilo).
They were also familiar with freezing temperatures (make anu) on the top of the mountain. When the ocean was too rough for canoes, Hawaiians would trek from Central Maui to Keanae, Kaupo and Hana via the summit. There was also at least one flint-working site high on the mountain. Maybe it was used only during kau wela.
It's still a little early to plug in the space heater or lug in wood to burn in the fireplace. There's still a good supply of split kiawe left over from last year and a small tarp has kept the upper layers of the pile dry and ready to burn. Even with old bones crying for warmth, a fire and a higher electric bill aren't needed. Not yet.
Even so, a breakfast run on a breezy motorcycle to the Sandalwood a thousand feet or so higher than home includes a chance to warm up. James, the proprietor, has a small fire burning in the restaurant's stove. Forget the usual table by the front door, move to within range of the warmth in the back corner. Old bones appreciate the move.
At this hour - after buff bicycle tourists and before summit seekers stop on their way up or down the mountain - James can take a few minutes to sit in a chair next to the stove. He's always ready for conversations. Pick a subject, any subject.
A trickle of customers gets him out of the chair and on the run. Some of the arrivals elect to sit outside on a lanai. At least one couple picks a table bathed in the sunshine breaking through a layer of clouds.
The sun makes all the difference between cold and warm, especially for a warmth-craving cat or a motorcycle rider with old bones.
* Ron Youngblood is a former staff writer for The Maui News. His e-mail address is email@example.com.