Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The early bird catches the you-know-what

There is something almost fantasy-like about the early morning hours.

I remember when I was a kid, delivering the Saint Paul Life newspaper, how much I appreciated the silence of predawn darkness as I began my weekly route. I enjoyed the crisp crunch of snow on the sidewalk under my feet, and seeing the first lights being turned on as people started to get ready to go to work. The only traffic I ever saw was a garbage truck driving by or a police car cruising the neighborhood, and that was fine by me.

During the summer, when school was out, I loved to go fishing in the early morning hours. I rode my bike to pick up minnows at Gimp's Bait Shop on Rice Street, and he never seemed to be very happy when I knocked on the door at 5:00 a.m., soon to learn I was only going to buy a few shiners. I'd pack my bait carefully, then make the long bike ride to Sucker Creek, all the while anticipating the huge crappies that awaited me as the sun came up. Still today, there isn't much that can match the magic of an early morning fishing trip. Being the first one at the boat landing, pushing off from the dock in the dark, and making the cool journey to my favorite bay is enough to give me goose bumps. The excitement of the first cast into the foggy water is only surpassed by the explosion of a bass, breaking the surface, with the sun just starting to come up on the horizon.

As a young adult, living on my own, I frequently stopped at Serlin's Cafe or Embers Restaurant for bacon and eggs before going to work. Because I was a "regular," the waitress knew my order, and would have that first cup of coffee poured even before I got my jacket off. I have fond memories of those early morning hours spent at Embers for another reason too, because it was there, in a booth by a window overlooking Highway 36, that a young woman (who would later become my wife) would often meet me for breakfast and conversation as we got to know one another.

I still am an early riser. It seems that no matter what time I go to bed at night, I wake up between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. I enjoy a leisurely breakfast while reading at the kitchen table, and then I head out to work or the studio, knowing I will accomplish more before 8:00 a.m. than in the entire 8 hours that follow.

Whoever said that the early bird catches the worm was correct, in more ways than one. I wonder what time he got up every morning.

Northern Sunrise, original acrylic by Dennis Sterner


Auntie Fluffy said...

I am so with you Dennis! These early morning hours ARE the best hours of the day!
I can hear the love of my life snoring peacefully nearby and my puppy is at my is good! With a great cup of coffee and my laptop, I too accomplish more before 8:30 then the rest of the day. It's too bad the "young" can't appreciate these hours, but then, the "young at heart" possibly would not have so much peace and quiet! ENJOY!!

John said...

Speaking as a "young" one, I too love the early morning hours. I would choose waking before the sun rises to staying up late any day of the week. NOTHING beats pre-sunrise fishing trips...especially when you're 5 years old, and with dad! Great memories!!! And now I continue those early morning trips, whether dad can go or not. Can I interest you in an early morning breakfast, pops?

Mary Ann Wachholz said...

As life stages change - so do the good reasons for early rising... when I was in my youth I played organ for the 7:00 am Mass every Sunday (even if I'd worked at the pizza place until 3:00-4:00 am); phase 2 was getting married and having children (loved getting up early and playing, snuggling and cuddling); then came part-time jobs while going to business college full time (long days - mornings being the best - being downtown by 7:00 am); full time jobs took over and that usually meant starting by 7:00; and the past 5 years getting up early to daily watch my granddaughter (what a blessing - turns 5 today). Best of all though was running outside with my camera to catch the morning sunrise and listen to the birds - it's so amazing & such a blessing.

mamamouseiam said...

Love the painting! May I have it? :-)