Autumn and into winter is my favourite time of year. I love the long dark nights and the changing colours as everything recedes, dies or goes into hibernation. Not because I’m a closet goth or a devil worshiper but more because it symbolises the time to check what you’re doing and regroup…well for me it does anyway.
A few months ago I joined the 4am club. Well, to be precise it’s the 4:59 club, in which I get up early to get ahead of the day. Everything is quiet at that time of the morning and whilst most others are still sleeping, I find that I can be really productive with writing or just much of the background work on the website or youtube channel.
It’s a time when I can wake up but also focus without disturbances too. It’s a time when I can savour my only fully caffeinated coffee of the day and I am able to dive into the work of the day. By the time most people are getting up, I have already put in a couple of hours solid work or have brainstormed a few new ideas.
I also like to get up early when I go riding too, even my early morning commute I relish when I’m at a 7am start. I’ll get up at the crack of sparrows, get on my bike and ride in the cold, dark and sometimes wet weather to arrive slightly earlier than normal. I then have my own time to decompress, derobe and slurp another cheeky full bodied coffee before the day starts.
This morning was much the same as the others. I got up and did a quick weather check. This gives me a heads up of what to expect along the route and I can plan accordingly. I went downstairs to make the morning brew, my dog eventually decided to come and say hello to me when he thought a biscuit might be in the offing, and I was able to do a bit of work of the computer too.
5:45 and I was ready to go…even earlier than I normally would. I knew that if I just slouched around for another 15mins, then I would start to feel tired again, so best to push on.
Getting on the road in the early hours is always a blessing. All is quiet, especially at the weekends when business traffic is at a minimum. This morning was quiet but I was by no means alone on the main arteries as I rode to work. Thoroughly wrapped up warm in my mulitple layers, thick boots and gloves on, heated grips to the max and moderating my breathing so I didn’t fog up my visor too much either.
Virtually every time I ride one of the back roads at this time of the morning, I see an old man trundling along on foot to wherever he is going to. Almost doubled over in his frailty and dressed in the biggest high vis coat imaginable, he makes the trek from his house to the nearest bus stop…why is he doing this at this time of the morning? Presumably for the same reasons why I get up early on most days too…just to get ahead of the day and do my affairs with some peace and quiet.
This morning however, I did not see him as I rode along the back roads…perhaps he overslept or perhaps he’s already been by and I was the late one. As I rounded the next bend I was almost instantly distracted away from old man wonderings as I rode straight into and through a storm of flying leaves and debris.
The wind has picked up overnight but it wasn’t anywhere near gale force…but it was enough to break free the tenderly attached brown autumn leaves from the trees, and enough to make them cascade down and around in a whirlwind like formation ahead of me.
It was dark and I was riding along a secluded road that had been tunneled by overarching trees. My headlights were on main beam and I was heading straight into a Star Wars opening credits scene but this time with hues of brown, orange and yellow. Thye were darting towards me and around me, but ever present as I continued along for the next mile.
Perhaps I was the only one to bear witness to this event this morning…perhaps it only happened because I was on the road early and that no one else was around. Maybe this is a regular occurrence at this time of year but this was my first experience of it. A mix of wind, location and dying leaves proved to be a potent combination that created a spectacle to admire for this early riser.
I often wonder if getting up earlier is actually a good thing and in truth the only tangible benefit is being able to be more productive with your day. However, getting up early and getting out into the world opens up a whole new set of experiences that would normally go unnoticed. Like the old man who makes his morning walk to the bus stop…or the middle aged running queen, out in the dark and getting her fitness fix…I get up early to put myself in prime position to absorb what is out there. Any whilst the brown leaves fell as the storm blew through…I knew there and then that my reason for getting up early was all the justification I ever needed.
Enjoy you day!