I’ve always been a morning person. It’s a trait inherited from my father, I suppose. He had to get up early for work, but it suited him. Even on his days off he was awake and out early, busy at chores. Must be the farm boy in him.
Living in the country as we did (an area which, I’m sad to say, has since fallen victim to the malling of America), my early rising — compared to my mother’s night-owl propensity for sleeping in — was not an issue. Beyond a certain young age, I was free to roam at will and did. We then owned what seemed (to my child’s mind) vast tracts of land and I would explore it daily in search of new wonders, quite aware that things are constantly in flux.
With dew still wet on the grass, I would head out. Didn’t matter the weather — the sun’s first rays warm on my face or rain pelting the hood of my coat or snow burning my upturned cheeks. The air was fresh, untainted by gasoline or diesel fumes from the nearby highway. Birds sang. With luck, I’d spy a groundhog or rabbit, watch the leopard frogs on the sodden lower meadow. I would sit so still that the chickadees would land near my feet to peck the soil. In winter, the boughs of the pine tree touched the ground, weighted by snow, making a cave I soon peopled with my imagination.
Little has changed over the years. I still rise early (somewhere between 4 and 6 am) to breathe that air, hear the first bird song, hope to catch a glimpse of some unexpected wild thing (a whitetail doe yesterday). Early morning is my time of renewal, an opportunity to center myself in preparation for whatever the day offers. It is, for me, a holy time…free of all the madness we humans make of our days. It’s an opportunity to connect with what matters, to remind myself that there is more to this life than me, to remember — with awe — that I am quite small in this infinite space…and yet part of the whole.
It is enough.