To rise at 6 a.m. is to set the day in motion before dawn’s rays lighten the sky. My body’s clock is already experimenting with autumn’s longer nights and shorter days, and of late I often find myself waking at 4 or even 3 in the morning, eyes wide open, mind alert, body restless and ready.
Rather than wait for the clock’s permission I have learned to follow these early urgings and retire to the patio carrying hot tea and a warm shawl.
There is such beauty in the night, those quiet hours before dawn. The silence is palpable and comforting, the darkness rich as chocolate and the air steeped in mystery. I light a candle and think of ancient monks in medieval abbeys who rise mid-night and shuffle down corridors to glowing chapels to pray.
This is indeed the holy time and this the land of waking dreams where the conscious and the unconscious touch. This is the time when the mind is most quiet and God is whispering behind stone walls, within deep wells and atop high towers from which pennants fly.
When a bird chirps I am pulled from my reverie and in the distance I hear the crow of a cock, city born and raised, calling from a dirt-hard backyard that is bordered by high wooden fences and dusty bushes. I watch the dark outlines of trees emerge as the curtains slowly rise and the sky fades from black to pearly gray.
One by one, night lights blink out and the last vampire, cape trailing through the dew-wet grass, shuffles home tired and hungry. Steam rises from my tea cup carrying my gratitude skyward for the blessings of another day. In the first breath of morning I drink in the sweet scent of yesterday’s new mown grass.