I love to wake up in the early morning although I must admit there are times when I need a bit of encouragement, especially if it's been late the night before! Clearly, it does seem to get progressively more challenging to "burn the candle" at both ends - an evening meeting or function can give the snooze button one heck of a workout the following morning. At times like that, I'm fortunate to have a partner (Joan) who cheerfully (not sure how she does that!) reminds me, at around 5:30 am, that I really DO like getting up early.
In my opinion, rising in the early morning hours is always worth the effort. It's the time of the day that is so fresh (even if I'm not), so full of promise. The Island birds sing with great gusto, the rabbits are turbocharged, the deer, well, they just seem so relaxed, so at peace with themselves and their human neighbours. In the early morning hours, there's a sense of expectation, a delicious opportunity to wonder about what the day will bring. The September sun is rising just a little later each day. Today it "lingered" a minute longer than it did yesterday and tomorrow, it will take an additional minute or so before making its appearance above the Coast Mountains over on the mainland.
This morning, the dark overcast that obscured the whole sky seemed to suddenly shift, in deference, to the glowing orb "rising" in the east, allowing it a horizon-wide opening to cast a warm and magical glow over the Salish Sea. As I snapped the image, I thought, "What an incredible picture, surely, this will be the coolest moment of the day!"
Then there was another moment. A brisk wind suddenly came up, scattering the high overcast and forming a low-lying cloud bank that sped eerily across the surface of the ocean. A ferry, somewhere out in the greyness, sounded its foghorn. A second later, an eagle appeared and seemed to stop in mid-air for just a micro-second, before catching an updraft that propelled it up and into the sky at a rate of climb that would impress a high-performance jet jockey. I stood, mesmerized...this was the coolest moment of the day.
An hour later, running along the trails, a water bottle of energizing "chia fresca" in hand, the forest floor softly absorbing the light steps and quick cadence of my unshod feet, I marvelled at the beauty of the natural environment. The thick ferns and the old growth cedars painted a prehistoric backdrop to this rejuvenating trail run. Ahh yes, this is, indeed, the coolest moment of the day.
Suddenly...pain! Dang...ouch!!! Oh man! I didn't even see that rock! I lost focus! OK, this was certainly NOT going to be the coolest moment of the day...ouch that really hurt!
But wait a minute....
As the pain slowly subsided, the toes still clearly intact and pointing in the right direction, with no lasting damage done, I thought about it, long and hard.
One day, and who knows when that might be, life might be very different. It could be that I will reflect on that moment, in mid-September, of 2010, when my vulnerable toes painfully impacted an immovable object on an early morning trail run. Perhaps, I will look fondly back at that moment when I was able to rise early to watch the sun rise, watch an eagle soar and climb, run the trails, shoeless, with childlike bliss...and stub my toe on a rock...and think that even that moment, was pretty darn cool.
A few weeks ago, I was describing to an older (and wiser) friend, how frustrating I find it to have to wait, for what seems like an eternity, for the traffic lights in our town. It's so annoying! He listened patiently, while I vented, and then reminded me that he had recently been required to give up his driving license after some 60 years of freedom at the wheel. He also shared with me that he would dearly love to be driving again...and have the luxury of being "stuck" at a red light or in a traffic jam.
I will never look at sitting in traffic the same way again and I will never complain about traffic lights.
The fact is, the only moment we have is the one that we're in. That in itself makes it of inestimable value - and very, very special.
Love the moment you're in.
Image above: A moment before sunrise, looking across to Howe Sound and Vancouver's North Shore, from Gabriola Island. It was, indeed, a special moment...but then every one is.