February 24, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Morning Glory

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.


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Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Chuckle:

Why is it that night falls but day breaks?

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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2/23: Peacemongering
2/22: "Home" in the City of Angels
2/21: Capri Memories
2/20: A Man is a God in Ruins
2/19: No Man is an Island
2/18: Iraq's "Cooperation"
2/17: Failure to Communicate
2/16: Cold City
2/15: Man-Eaters of Tsavo
2/14: Valentine Gems
2/13: Grab Bag
2/12: The End is Near
2/11: And the Winner Is...
2/10: Exploration is Risky Business
2/9: Staphylococcus
2/8: Morning Cup of Kofi
2/7: Game Over
2/6: The Eagle Never Landed
2/5: Pope: Potter No Problem
2/4: Time for Another Rewrite
2/3: A Matter of Opinions
2/2: Suicidal Bravado
2/1: Godspeed, Columbia

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