I've been taken sunrise photos for a long time now. I'm up so early (naturally and by choice), often getting so many things done. I deliberately take the time to watch the sunrise, and I capture it on in digital pixels with my DSLR. It's my routine, and it works for me.
I have recently uploaded my September 2019 collection of sunrise photos, but it was so hard to chose a favorite. It was hard to decide on my latest fuel.
Some time ago, at a meetup with some of my writing buddies, one of them asked me a simple, but complicated, question: Why the sunrise? She was asking how I was able to actually be up so early in the mornings.
With the sunrise between 5 and 6 am in the summer, it’s actually easy to understand how she struggles to fathom the hour that I get up. Yet, my answer to her question was just as simple, and complicated, as her question: It’s just part of who I am.
The Mornings are My Fuel
Even as a child, I was a morning person, up at the crack of dawn and on the go. My husband often looks at me like I’m a little nuts (but that reality fled the coop long ago).
The alarm goes and I scuttle out of bed to the shower. Within 5 minutes of the water pounding my skin, I'm awake and ready for the day to start. The mind starts working through whatever piece of writing that it wants to work on that day, sometimes polishing an idea that had been mulling around in my head for a few days (or even weeks). I finish my shower, get dressed, and I'm at my computer.
This is all often before the sun even begins it's morning journey, so I'm up to watch the sky change from that dark to lighter hue.
Perhaps I should mention that I do all of this without coffee. I drink chai, which does have caffeine, but that's it. (And my first cup of chai is not until well into the mid-morning.)
And it might disturb many of you to discover that I'm up before down — naturally.
Sleep is Precious
When others are struggling to drag themselves out of bed, it's often because they are still tired, unable to get enough sleep. They say they're night people, partying until the wee hours of the morning. I remember reading somewhere that the average adult gets 5–6 hours of sleep a night, sometimes, as little as 4 hours; however, the human body needs 7–8 hours.
As a teen, it was always a bit of a joke with my mother. 10:30 pm would hit, and I'd be out like a light. There were numerous times when I'd try to stay up to watch the end of that movie on TV, but I just couldn't do it. There was something about that magic hour, and zzzzzzzzz... Mom would poke and prod me until I was in bed, and more zzzzzzzzz...
Even at 21 years old, I was still like that. Shall we say that I was never the life of the party.
As a teen, I was in the theater, constantly on stage. I perfected the skill of making everyone think I was wide awake (full aerobic dance routines and vocals that lifted the roof, yet backstage I was curled up in the corner sleeping). My mother always laughed at the sight of it.
And now... Most nights, not long after 9 pm, I'm in bed. I'll read for a few minutes on my Kindle, then zonk... I have no idea what time my husband comes to bed, because I'm normally out to the world.
5 am hits, and the brain starts to wake up. Once that story starts in my head, it's all over for sleep. 6 am, the body demands that I get up, if I'm not already up, so I just start my day. No alarm clock. My body just does it.
Do the math, people. That's 7–8 hours of sleep. That's how I do it. That's how I function so well in the mornings.
Night Brings Other Issues
However, there is another reason why I'm a morning person. The night is often after an exhausting day, sometimes filled with pain.
My husband and I love the outdoors. In our younger years, we would frequently go for walks in the forest. We sort of stopped going for the really long walks when we had two littlies in tow. Our son hated mud and was quite vocal about it (it's hilarious as anything to see a 2-year-old boy getting all worked up because there's a small patch of mud on the ground, and he can't throw an tantrum or he'll get muddy). And our daughter sees something shiny and disappears (she still does it today, and she's 14).
But those early years walks were physically exhausting, with sore feet.
In recent years, my body has decided to rebel against me. Brain fog sets in shortly after dinner time, and I struggle to put two words together to form a sentence. To make matters worse, pain grips my legs, and no one knows why. I get twitchy, and struggle to sit still. The only solution is to just sleep it all off. Morning comes, and I can function again... so I do.
We're All Different
I know others struggle to understand how I can function during the insane hours of the morning that I do, but maybe that's the real answer: I'm insane. Yet, I get to enjoy a time of the morning that can be quite magical.
Others miss the morning transformations in the sky, cursing the birds for their cheery songs. They might be able to see the transformations at the other end of the day, but me... I often see both. (Not in the summer though. The sun sets at almost 10 pm at the height of summer in Christchurch, New Zealand. We are seriously that far south. Saying that, in the middle of winter, sunset is approximately 5 pm.)
I don't think I'll ever be able to explain it adequately, except for the simple, but complicated, short answer that I gave my writing buddy when she asked, "Why the sunrise?"
"It's just part of who I am."
(Feature Image: Sunrise at New Brighton Beach (Jun 17, 2019))