Tender mornings

My gym is right next to a school and the time I finish up usually coincides with the start of a bright new day at school. So everyday, as I exit the gym and head back to my car, I encounter scores and scores of girls (it’s a girls convent) rushing along to school. I see a range of faces and feelings — some scampering happily, some shuffling reluctantly, some others dreamy and still half-asleep like they’ve been prepped and pushed out the door without their knowing, some holding on tenderly to the hand (or sometimes just a finger) of a parent chatting with them intently, some with an older sibling also in a uniform — a larger version of the themselves, some looking unsure and untrusting of what lies beyond the gates clearly in need of coaxing and cajoling. It gives me such delight to see old, familiar sights — little human beings carrying bags bigger than themselves, under-shorts peeking out from beneath the pinafore, neat and twisty well-oiled braids with ribbons drawn through them, knee-high socks (sometimes held up by rubber bands), sleepy eyes, bright eyes, tired eyes, jaded eyes. School mornings bring them all.

Most of them pouring out of over-stuffed autos and mini-vans. So many rushing by from neighbouring lanes and alleys or walking to shcool from home. There’s usually too many kids scurrying about for me to drive off in a rush, and so I wait patiently. Watching all kinds of big and little girls filing out vehicles, house gates and arms of their parents to face the start of a new day.

There’s a dreaminess in the way that these children take themselves school. An innocence and smallness in the small limbs, the gentle eyes and the supple bodies that are little human beings. The softness of their spirit shining through effortlessly. The default slow way in which they seem to take their time with every step of the way.

It’s become a good way to begin the day — watching this menagerie, motley crew. I catch myself observing keenly, sometimes smiling to myself. Because it reminds me of myself in school, and the start of new days. I’ve always been a morning person, and even though there have been some mild changes with that in my adulthood, I think deep in my core I am a morning person. I have steadfastly avoided making such definitive sweeping declarations about myself of late, but today, watching the same show that I have all year now since I rejoined the gym, it hit me — I frikking love mornings. It’s my favourite time of day.

Today, the realisation struck a tender part of me. There’s an incredibly soft, open quality to mornings. Something about the beginning of a new day, the brimming over of possibility, the immense privilege that is another day. And it felt especially visible in watching young, bright girls off to school.

I’ve always wondered what it means to wake up and be grateful for another day of life. It always seemed kind of redundant and stating-the-obvious, but today I think I woke up to a subtlety that’s been so far lost on me. It’s why even on days when I struggle to wake up, or I want to just lie in bed all day, or when the weather makes it impossible to see the sun, mornings still signal the vigour of a new day. Another brush with the freshness of life, meeting with another full day, potent with opportunity.

The sun comes up, and off we go, with yet another chance at life itself. And how much I’ve taken that for granted, day after day.

One year ago: Cake by the ocean

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