This comes as part 8 of our series on Microadventures in the lockdown. Due to my lack of energy to write them all up, I’m afraid we’re only going at about one every two days. Perhaps they’ll do us for May too!
Have an idea? Why not let me know!
I’ve written quite a bit elsewhere (particularly in ‘Travel’), about our culture’s aversion to sleep. So often we pretend we are too busy for it (with important things, you’ll understand), don’t really need so much of it, or are simply distracted and don’t realise the time. To be purposely productive is the idol of many, including myself (sadly) at many times. The world is too enjoyable to sleep – there’s too much to explore! We’re definitely no longer a culture that wakes with the sun and goes to sleep with the darkness.
And that’s particularly true for the backpacker – we come in to places in the evening and still want to explore. We get woken up in the hostel at night by others in the dorm. We sleep on busses or trains or wherever we can find cheaply, but perhaps don’t quite get an uninterrupted 8 hours for many of those nights! For many of us, we think we can survive longterm living like that. Sleep experts would strongly disagree (see review 1).
But for these few days, I am attempting to get back to waking up when the sun rises (or just before) and going to sleep earlier, just to see what being in rhythm with the natural patterns of the world is like. Luckily for me, the hours suit well at this time of year where I am. If they don’t suit where you are, then perhaps just rise earlier in the morning to see sunrise and go to bed at a suitable hour.
So today was day 1 of this episode.
The alarm went at 6am, and I stumbled out of bed about 20 minutes later, already struggling and wondering why on earth I thought of doing this!
But 5 minutes afterwards, and my first reward was obvious.
A stunning sunrise over the water, with no-one else within miles to see it, apart from the odd cyclist, whizzing past on their way to work or their next target.
The stillness and quietness of the morning overtook me, as I stood, watching the majesty unfold. The day’s tasks rested far ahead of me and out of my mind as I watched the carefree oyster catchers and gulls fly over the still waters and come to land near me on the beach, wary of this strange species that had turned up amongst them.
The world may be in a panic and uncertain, but for my feathered friends in front of me, it was business as usual. And the only worry was what to eat that morning. The dining table for them, spread out with panoramic views.
My heart sang a short reflection of thanks to God.
And the rest of the day was set with a foundation of joy. Walking back home for coffee, I turned to some more immovable sustenance of joy as I opened God’s words to us, recorded in history for us (in the Bible). And then onto breakfast before the day sped up and reality hit.
But just in case you think it’s all very well for me – having a nice sunrise to watch, I guess my post is less about chasing sunrises (which are of course, still a ‘brucey bonus’) and more about connecting with natural rhythms, stilling your heart before madness hits, and meditating on the bigger picture.
And much as I do think sunlight and other such daily rhythms do indeed have an affect on us, I do wonder whether we also have quite some cultural prejudice towards times of day in some circles of society. Today, I sent an email at 8am, and got heralded for my ‘godliness’ of being up early. Previously I’ve sent emails at 2am and got berated for how immature and out of control I was! Neither need be necessarily true at all though, depending on the circumstance or patterns of life we are living.
But for now, let me simply encourage you to join me on a dawn microadventure, and see what you find!