If “Magic in the Morning” is also the tagline of a top-40 radio station somewhere, I honestly do not know of it. The phrase has that sort of ring, though, doesn’t it? Alternatively, it could be a sort of New Age practice of some kind, maybe with yoga involved there somewhere. And herb tea.
Neither applies here. I’m strictly a black (strong) coffee drinker straight up in the morning with NPR on the radio alarm and an old fashioned newspaper awaiting me on the front stoop. While I’m not at all grumpy upon awakening, neither am I chatty. The coffee and the news, please and thank you.
I always thought I would like running in the morning. For years, I didn’t do much more than that, i.e., think about it. The only time I would actually get around to it would be when I travelled to a different city for a conference or training. Since my day was usually scheduled, going out early was my time to see a few sights. I loved the sense of adventure as I ran softly along city sidewalks, watching the regulars getting their coffee and newspapers on route to offices and shops. More aware of the sights and scents of a different place, I could feel the pace around me pick up as I wended my way back to my hotel, matching my speed to that of the street.
Once back home, I fell into my lazy ways. I was a lunch runner, finding the break in the day a great stress-buster. Occasionally on the weekends, I would get up early to join running friends on planned long runs, but it just never stuck. It was just too tempting to go back for the second cup of coffee and turn to the crossword puzzle.
Then I moved south. Before landing in Florida, I taught with Teach For America in Mississippi, just 150 miles north of New Orleans. It’s warm here most of the time. By noon, going for a run means you will return dripping, and that’s NOT because you took advantage of your neighbors’ lawn sprinklers. (In July and August, that dripping thing happens even if you go out pre dawn.)
So I make the coffee the night before and set its alarm so it’s ready early. I have learned to make do with one quick cup and a perusal of the paper. I can bring NPR along, donning my earbuds along with the running clothes I set out when I made the coffee.
And I find I was right all along. I love running in the morning. Being out before the sun, while the streetlights are on, still makes me feel a little like a truant kid, sneaking off down the road without mom’s permission. Lights in kitchens pop on along the route. People in robes stumble out for papers rolled and, unlike mine, still unread.
The air is fresh before the traffic builds up. Birds are busier and bolder; I’d always missed their sounds in the cold northern winters so especially relish them here. And every morning, there’s the sunrise to anticipate. Some days it’s just regular, but a regular dawn is still something to stop and appreciate. Most of my morning routes take me over or alongside of a bit of water and some point, and it’s not unusual to see another early morning person stopping for a moment just to appreciate the view. And perhaps planning a fresh new start, while hoping for at least a little magic to make it interesting.