I left home today when it was still dark, heading for work. It had rained overnight, and though cool, it wasn’t cold. At that time of morning – just on 7 – it’s quiet and sleepy still, with most of the world yet to properly rouse. Walking the suburban streets, there’s a sense of agreeable aloneness.
It was early for me because these days I’m sleeping so well. I’ve slept well most of my life, and for most of my life took it for granted. Then in the last 18 months, I found my sleep deteriorating. From never waking up through the night, I became someone whose sleep became disturbed, waking up two or three times or more a night. I suppose for many people, it represents a normal sleep, but for me, it was foreign. This disturbed sleep coincided with a blocked sinus I experienced nightly. In recent months that’s improved some after acupuncture, and still more again with a new nasal spray that has cleared me up very well. From a sleep quality averaging about 72%, it’s now up about 88%. I feel better for it all round. With my sleep more efficient it becomes easier to get up early (though I’ve been sleeping longer on average).
I rocked up to my local station this morning as the sky slowly brightened and the sleeping homes gradually woke. As I do every morning, I found myself a window seat on the right-hand side of the train with my headphones on listening to an audiobook. As the stations were ticked off the train slowly filled. It’s quiet generally, most people at that time of day happy to ease into the maelstrom, and still very much in their own world. About me, the seats fill. For the most part, I take no notice unless there’s someone interesting. Otherwise, like everyone else, I’m happy to peer out the window waiting for the moment I must exit the train and head to work.
When the train pulls into the city, the sun has properly risen, but the light is opaque, and a few heavy drops of rain randomly fall. I like this time of day. There’s not the bustle in the streets that 20 minutes later will be in full force. There are a few, like me, early to work in a mix of business formal and Friday casual. There seem to be a lot of backpackers wandering around with backpacks laden. There’s probably no more than usual, it’s just that they’re more visible – less diluted – in the smaller crowds. They poke around uncertainly, looking for somewhere to sit down for an early breakfast or coffee.
I clack-clack down the laneways and arcades I take to get to work. I’ve got my heavy redwing boots on, and a thick p-jacket with the collar turned up. I feel free. I look about and absorb so much and so much of it I know from my own experience, and what I don’t adds to me. It’s one of those occasions when I feel most especially me, and what a privilege it seems.
Climbing into the lift in the building a girl working on my floor smiles at me and wishes me a good morning. We speak lightly, gently joking, both of us anticipating a long weekend and glad its Friday.
Then I’m at my desk, PC on, my good mornings said to the sparse crowd there, and today out again for an early coffee, flirting with the French girl from La Rochelle.