When I say this, I don’t exactly mean that I enjoy sleeping in. Of course, lounging in bed is pretty fantastic—but I must have a compelling reason to keep me from swinging my legs over the side and testing the seaworthiness of a newfound day. I may be no morning person, but rising early and interacting with no one at all truly works to my advantage.
Days really should start with all humans accomplishing a string of simple tasks uninterrupted. I’m like an old motorcycle engine in that I find it most off-putting when I haven’t been allowed my proper warmup time—a period of idle that is stressed by a series of gentle revs that ultimately places me under sound operation. It is during this initial stage that I fear the Good Morning Souls who pepper my skull with happy chirps before I am already on my way to midmorning. Avoiding such infractions is the main reason why I usually get up early. Not everyone recognizes the unwritten law of morning quiet time.The price that I pay for this mechanical rhythm is that in my current existence, I am obliged to rise even earlier. And as a third order effect, I “get” to go to sleep even earlier than the Blue Plate Special crowd. It would be an understatement to say that my nocturnal social habits are limited, but the payoff culled from all of this time shifting really does yield worthwhile, almost supernatural results.
There is nothing like the morning quiet. As we humans now burst from the seams of all the world’s towns and cities, it’s much harder to find a space of grass or time that feels all your own. And since the bulk of the population finds it largely criminal to be awake at dawn, this is my chance to partake in something that feels almost protected.
I don’t love summertime for the extreme heat. Indeed, experiencing the sheen of sweat slowly beading up on my body sans respite qualifies as the apex of summertime blues. What I do love about summer—and especially summer along the sea—is the excess of sunlight afforded by the earth’s rotational tilt. It makes these weeks feel as though they’ll stretch on forever. It is an excess that makes everyone feel rich and wasteful with their time. I believe the English phrase for this phenomenon is ‘on vacation’.
And thus a 05:30 wake up in July grants access to a horizon that resembles something like pastel sand art. Here along the Mediterranean, the level of sophistication in what you see is elevated to a whole new level. Through towns that tumble down to the 40th parallel north, you can trace les rades and i porti while enjoying a near 360-degree view of quays and stooped mountains that serve as mirrors to the creeping light of rising day. I absolutely love engaging with this terrain because somehow it fortifies me and smooths out whatever might have had me bound up even upon waking. I’m transformed and prepared to scrutinize whatever will come in the new day of tasks, tedium and yes, human interaction.
As is often the case in my daily refrain of “Pinch me, I’m dreaming” existence, soon I’ll be removed once again from these first light communions with salt and sand. A stable vocation has me anchored to a place that demands hundreds of miles before I’m back in a place like this. Salt-infused topography. At least that’s how it will be for the time being. But I’ll still have the morning hours, and I’ll still step outside my city door ridiculously early to see what I can take and keep as only mine alone. Sunrise, wherever we find it, can truly be the best prescription for all that life throws at you.