This morning, I rise at 5am. I do some breathing and get dressed in the half-light.
I shut the front door quietly and slip past blindfolded houses. I feel like I’m playing a trick on society, the only one awake.
Cars are wrapped in ice. The air is cold. I feel strong, resilient.
I walk up an empty street, flanked by glowing green traffic lights. Birdsong surrounds.
Salt and pepper clouds are bunched up in a corner of the sky. This is it, I smile excitedly.
I pass through a shuttered town then turn up a country road. Sheep graze. I wonder how long they’ve been up.
I point my camera at a lamb posing by a gate. It bolts. Good for you, I think.
Hefty cows lie across frosty fields. A blackbird balances on the branch of a tree. My gaze gives it flight.
Half-way through the walk, I realise that I don’t have much time to get ready for work. I run-walk-run-walk the rest of the way. An unintentional High Intensity Interval Training session. My chest sparks.
As I near home, the sun comes up behind me. It’s a beautiful day.
This could be where the story ends. All positivity and motivation.
But what about the other parts the writer or social-media sharer omits?
How deciding to set my alarm so early made me anxious. How I feared that not enough sleep would mess with my mood.
How I worried that I’d be attacked while solo strutting along deserted streets. How I hoped I wouldn’t injure myself when running.
The first part of the story is still true. I did marvel at the mystery of the early morning. And I was present for a lot of it.
The other part of the story can be summed up as follows: I had concerns but I didn’t let them dominate me.
I’ve been cohabiting with a scare-mongering, self-critical voice for as long as I can remember and its lyrics can convince and connive.
But there’s a flame inside me that’s growing too bright to ignore. It wants a better life and it finally believes that it’s possible.
I’ve gone from being paralysed by fear to moving forwards even as my limbs tremble.
So I walk-run-walk-run and my breath deepens. And as I fade in and out of fear and presence, the sun rises and shadows shift.