The early bird catches the worm, they say. Well,
this morning I could have caught the early bird
long before the first worms started their daily
wriggling. Since the company where I'm currently
working part-time is open 24/7, I get the
occasional odd shift. This morning, my alarm clock
roused me at the odd hour of 3:45 a.m.
When I hit the road less than an hour later, I
was reminded of how much I enjoy the early morning.
Most people would sayand I would
confirmthat I am a night owl. I
routinely stay up until one or two o'clock in the
morning, and as a result, usually sleep in later
than most. I have no problem staying up so late,
but I find rising early less than enjoyable. Yet,
when I have to get up early for one thing or
another, I absolutely love the freshness of a new
day. There's a peace in the darkness before the
dawn, an expectancy you don't find at any other
hour. At that time of day, it's easy to believe
that anything is possible.
Mornings and I have always had an uneasy
relationship. Some people I know rise before dawn
every day, like it's the most natural thing in the
world. Others have not seen a sunrise since Nixon
was in office. I fall somewhere in the middle.
These days, if I witness a sunrise, more often than
not it comes at the end of my day, not at the start
(especially during law school last fall).
My time in the Navy was a different matter. When
I first enlisted, "reveille" came at the ungodly
hour of 4:30 a.m. By the time the sun poked its
nose above the horizon, we were marching the parade
grounds, breakfast already warming our bellies. At
sea, my work shifts followed a six-hours-on,
six-hours-off schedule, so I was guaranteed to
greet the sunrise one way or another. If you've
ever spent time on the ocean at night, you know
what a welcome sight a sunrise at sea is.
One of the most welcome of such sunrises I ever
experienced, in fact, took place during a harrowing
voyage from Morro Bay to Ventura Harbor. I joined
my father aboard his 34-foot sloop on what should
have been an easy 20-hour sail from port to port
along the California coast. A mere three hours
after we left Morro Bay, however, an impenetrable
fog descended on us, and never dissipated. Had we
not been equipped with a handheld GPS receiver with
which to determine our position, we would never had
made it. As it was, we took white-knuckled turns at
the helm hour-by-hour, cruising blindly through the
night, plotting our position on the chart as we
went. Sunrise consisted of a prolonged transition
from inky black to milky white, but no improvement
of visibility. Still, just the mere presence of
light felt reassuring.
Yes, I've seen mornings from every which way.
They've been the beginning, the middle and the end
of my day. My response to most mornings is often a
brusque tap of the Snooze button. But if I am up
and about to meet the sunrise, I find it an
exhilarating feeling. It may seem cliché to
think of mornings as the birth of a new day, but
for me, the dawn has a certain magic all its own.
Or then again, perhaps it's just the novelty of a
time I don't often see.
Development note: I've
noticed that this site doesn't look like it should
in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time
jury-rigging it to look right in a
soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the
cliché "This site best viewed with Internet
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