sunrise: ~7:30am Atlanta airport
(No wireless signal until I was back in Bangor)
Today’s was an unconventional version of my sunrise outing. I was most certainly on an outing, and I was up and outdoors early – 3:45am to be exact. But I couldn’t be actually outdoors during sunrise, airport security being what it is.
I am a bargain hunter. Last Minute Travel, an on line travel business, gave me a great price on flights. The down side is two stops between Orlando and Bangor. It was a pleasant surprise to find how quickly accommodating they were when I requested eastern facing seats for my two morning flights today (Orlando-Atlanta and Atlanta-Detroit). Nowadays you don’t expect to find a live human being to talk to at a big business, and even when you do they are more in the category of sub-human automatons.
Getting up at 3am reminded me of a short-term summer job I had one time. I had a paper route – about 35 miles of driving around suburban neighborhoods in Westchester County, New York, where I grew up. I had to pick up my papers at about 3:45 and was finished delivering by 7 or 7:30. An odd schedule and an ethereal time of day. You feel very quiet, private, alone. I also felt like an intruder amid the rabbits and other wildlife that were busy at that time of day.
In cities it’s different – more lights, more signs of humans awake – but not many. You wonder – are they at the end of a long night, or starting an early day? It still feels like a mysterious time to be out and about. You’re like a prowler out after curfew, seeing things that we’re generally not meant to see. The world of humans sleeps. So when you are out during that deep night hour, you are somehow invading a place where you don’t belong.
One other recollection of that turning over of night into day:
In the spring of 1982 I stayed up all night one night, finishing my 40 page final senior essay for college (Can the Mountains Speak for Themselves – a study of outdoor experiential education in the US). I sat at a desk with my pen and paper in front of a set of leaded glass windows at my old ivy institution, and I watched the day turn to deep twilight blue, then black, then gray and back to daylight. Every couple of hours I ran a new sheaf of pages across the campus to a friend I was paying to type it up for me.
I suppose there are those who see this time of day all the time. It may lose its air of magic and mystery under the dulling influence of routine, but it still makes a deep impression on me.