The last time I got up at 3.30am, other than to go to the toilet, was to run an ultra marathon. It’s not the sort of time that people get up to do normal things. In my experience however, normal is a little bit boring. Ok, a big bit boring. My alarm went off at the said time and I rolled out of my pit. Everything was ready, all set out the night before. All I had to do was make a flask of tea and have something to eat. Thirty minutes later, I’m in the car driving to my destination, some four miles away, the new day beginning to glow on the horizon in my rear view mirror. The purpose of my trip was to see something that happens every day, yet we take it for granted despite its beauty and significance – the sunrise.
I have these periods in my life that I go through where I am very conscious of time passing by – through my fingers, like sand. How many times will I be able to see the sunrise in my life? How much more time that is not guaranteed to me, or you, in any way will be taken for granted and flushed down the toilet of life?
I parked up and began my walk. I had no route planned, so I just followed my feet until I found a comfortable spot to sit and watch the show. More often than not when I’ve seen sunrises and sunsets, there has been a bit of disappointment as cloud or haze gets in the way. This time was unprecedented though. Just after 5 am there was a burning orange dot that grew and grew then flashed across the sky. Here it was. The new day. I felt the light on my face and the warmth flooding in. The tea I brewed was perfect, the scene was spectacular and the company was pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Little did I know though that the sunrise was only the starter. The wildlife I saw that morning was the main course and dessert. There were countless deer, in close proximity, hares, kites, skylarks and a lone fox, blissfully unaware of my gaze as he zig-zagged through the crops, hopefully following the scent of an unsuspecting creature.
It wasn’t until 9 am that I saw human beings. Getting home at 11 am, after an already 8 hour day is definitely not practical to repeat very often, but is humbling enough to do again. I am definitely seeing these solo forays into the outdoors these days as reconnection exercises, as I am calling them. It’s all too easy to lose the sense of who you are, where you sit and how you fit in to the world. If getting up at 3 am to watch such an amazing event for free while the rest of town sleeps is all it takes to do that, then I’m happy.