The sun is rising, coloring the sky shades of pink, red and orange. There is no activity outside, other than the occasional car that drives by every half-an-hour. My son is playing with wooden blocks and organizing them into stacks ,and expelling them from his area. I am sitting in a robe and slippers, two things I only wear at the very beginning and very end of the day, as I slowly drink my first cup of black coffee. Everything is so still in the morning. The earth is waking up and I am here waking with it as well.
I am naturally a night-owl. My natural state is one of staying up till the early morning, and waking up very late. It has never made me feel very good, you always feel like you are falling behind even if you aren't, but that is/ was my natural state. It was my wife who, years ago, opened my eyes to the beauty of the morning. Becoming a father cemented the habit of waking up early.
My wife went through a phase many years ago in which she was waking up earlier just because she wanted to. She would wake up at 5 AM for joy. She developed a whole set of routines around the morning. It was a ritual she would do every morning. She would do it the same way every day. It was her time of routine and it existed before anyone else was awake, even before the world was awake. 5 AM was, is and will always be too early for me. But 7 or 6:30? That is nice. Years ago, before we had children, my wife and I had a routine where we would wake up and wouldn't speak to each other for hours. It was our morning time. The apartment was quiet and still, both in this space, together. It was incredibly nice, you wake up in the most peaceful way, and are all ready for the day before anyone says anything to anyone else. The photograph at the top of this piece was taken from our loft window years ago, during the hours of the silent morning. Using this silent time to wake up, think, be in the moment of morning, say morning prayers, get ready for your day unencumbered by language, was wonderful. I loved it.
Like morning, the night is also still and the world is sleeping, yet it doesn't feel the same. You are perhaps drinking scotch, not coffee. You are at the end of the novel, things are wrapping up but you are dragging your feet hoping that you can make it last a bit longer. Morning is the first few pages of the story. Anything can happen, the day is new, the possibilities are new, the world is new.
There is ritual that I have at the end of the day, of course, yet the ritual of the morning, I seem to enjoy in my heart more. Waking from the bed, feeling cold, wrapping my robe around me. Walking to kitchen and waiting for the coffee to be ready. The sound of the drip and the light scent when standing close enough. The first sips feel like the demarcation in time that the day has begun. Sitting, watching the frost fade from the grass as my eyes slowly become more agile and my head clears. Praying, as my son plays next to me. Any of the sad thoughts that creep into our minds during the dark of night - because we all seem to be more vulnerable to dark thoughts at night - are gone. They are in the past and feel less real now. How were they so real just hours ago? Morning feels like new life, a new chance at it all, unburdened by the weight of the day prior. I never felt it when I was younger, but now, I love the beauty and gift of the morning.