One of the unique things about hiking and walking is you get to see the world in many different lights. Depending on the time of day that you venture out, you can, and probably will, have a drastically different experience than you would if you had decided to wait to head out, either later or even earlier in the day. On the days that I am not on one trail or another, I have several loops on the local roads that I like to walk to start my day. Because it has been so hot, I have spent just about the last week getting up and walking at 4:30 am.
Although I get up around the same to go to work during the school year, I can’t compare getting up to hike and getting up to go to work. Not that I don’t love my job, because I do, but it is much easier on the psyche getting up that early when you are doing something that is going to help your mind and body move forward on every level.
Now, the reason I mention this is because I have noticed that whether I am deep in the woods or on the road, each day starts remarkably the same way. On the trail, the woods are eerily silent and the only sound I hear, and quickly become in sync with, is my boots kicking up the earth as I explore my surroundings. As the sun makes its way over the hills and through the dense brush of the summer woods, you can start to hear the chipmunks and squirrels begin their daily routine of survival.
The same can be said of those living in the suburbs. At this time of year, all I hear when I start walking is the communal hum of air conditioners in the houses of those who are also beginning their daily routine of survival. Bleary eyed, or in some cases teary eyed, I see the people on my walk leaving the comforts of home, briefcase or bag in hand with looks of temporary despair as they start their daily journey to, where?
As the sun continues its relentless march upward and across the morning sky, the dew begins to dry on any exposed leaves and as a summer breeze moves in from the west, the trees silently stir. At this time of the morning, especially when I am on the trail, I’ll take a few minutes to just sit with my eyes closed and take it all in. The shift from the night slumber to awakening reality can be a real eye opener (no pun intended).
More and more life continues to stir and it is obvious to me that in both cases, each place has its routines that must be adhered to. Routines, that when looked at closely, follow a pattern that help determine whether, if followed, they are among the survivors that day.
Isn’t daily survival a short-term goal for everyone? Isn’t it important to start every day in peace so we can make the decisions going forward necessary to help maintain that peace? I am looking for peace at home, peace at work and just living life without the drama that seems to consume us. Think about how you can preserve your peace as well as those around you based on how you start your day.
4:30 am love this dedication, the early morning when things are starting to wake up is very special. I don’t see enough of this time.
I love that you compared starting an early morning hike with an early morning walk around your neighborhood. There truly is a similar magic that time of day, even in our “boring old daily lives.” Great observations! 🙂
Thanks very much for the kind words! I never really gave it much thought until I was actually out walking yesterday and realized that I had seen several of the same people over several days of walking. Thanks again for the feedback.
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