I am not a morning person. I think I have stated that rather emphatically in the past so I won’t rehash that here. I am a night owl and if I let my body decide my sleep schedule, I would go to bed at around 1 AM and wake up at 8 or 9. But that’s not very conducive to my work schedule.
I am also runner. Again, I’m not going to rehash that here but there are many times of the year when this interferes with other activities if I choose to run after work. In late fall and winter, it’s too dark outside. In the thick of summer, it’s sweltering and feels like I’m running through mud.
I have recently begun running in the pre-dawn mornings, so I am seeing a whole different world that exists then. It’s eerie as I pull out of my driveway in the dark with so many other lights off up and down my street. But, within a few minutes, I see signs of life in this other world.
There are fellow runners. Those who have this as the only part of their schedule they can control. Family and work responsibilities haven’t encroached yet and it’s a time carved out just for them. Some run solo, and some in neon-lit packs. I like knowing some of my people are also out there and glad they are able to take part in this.
There are police men and women. Whether it’s a car driving down the street, or sitting in a lot keeping watch, it comforts me. I still fear the imaginary monsters children worry are hiding behind a door or under the bed, so the nearness of protection helps me to feel safe. I am grateful to them for serving in this role.
There are other city workers-collecting garbage and recycling. I see the men in brightly-colored vests firmly perched on the back of a truck, then gracefully dismounting and lifting large containers up as though they were nothing. I remember something a friend said years ago. He was apparently getting a little proud and looking down on others. His mother asked him, “If you didn’t show up for work, and the person who empties the garbage didn’t show up for work, which person do you think would be missed?” Thank you for showing up to work; I would miss you if you didn’t.
There is a lot of good around me in these early hours. People who will find protected time where they can to do something beneficial for themselves. People who will help keep order and beauty for my world. I know there are countless others in other lines of work who wake up early or stay up throughout the night. To each of you, I say thank you and I hope you rest well tonight.