Up at Dawn

Daily Prompt: 6:00AM: the best hour of the day, or too close to your 3:00AM bedtime?

Morning breaks quiet and early. I am up at just after 6 on a Sunday.

I’ve always thought of myself as a morning person and indeed most of my life I have been able to get up and get going at whatever time has been necessary. And I enjoy the quiet of an early morning.

But I seem to struggle more and more with getting up early. And where I had been going to bed early to compensate, I’ve lately found myself staying up later and later.

My friend recently pointed out that in our youth I never would have been able to date musicians and drag everyone out until all hours if I hadn’t also been a bit of a night person.

So maybe I’m both, or neither or maybe I’m just getting older and feel tired at different times of the day and night.

This morning, I try to tip toe, to be quiet as my husband is still sleeping but I know the eventual grinding of coffee will wake him.

Our son has been up for god knows how long, excited and reading and waiting. There is a sense of anticipation in the air. It is his Orienteering Club’s day of woodland activities.

I know it will be cold up in the Quebec hills but I’m happy to finally be one of the early ones, not missing the morning but going out to play in it. I often see the early walkers and runners coming home as I’m just getting up and generally, ruefully, wish that I too had gotten up early to do something invigorating. I’m glad to be among them this morning.

And I’m happy to know that when we’re done the day’s fun, it will still only be early afternoon.

We drive for 30 minutes out of town and into the cold hills of the Quebec countryside.

Here, the trees are mostly coniferous and, other than the odd splash of gold or the shining white of birch bark, the forest is a tapestry of greens and tawny grasses.

The steely clouds are reflected in the little lake, rippling faintly, as is the forest and the out-of-place blaring lights left over from night time. Seagulls splash and play about on the smooth beach at the water’s edge. Squawking birds call back and forth across the tree tops.

It is cold, frigidly so. But the kids don’t feel it. They climb and shout and run and play, ready to start. They don’t feel the pain of the early morning. Instead, they are simply happy to be up and out and on the verge of another wilderness adventure.

As they mill about on the hill ready to start, the sun breaks through the clouds lighting everything with its silvery winter glow.

And then they are off, flinging themselves headlong into the forest, ignoring paths and markers and each competing to be first back.

This is why I am happy to be up.

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