Recently I took up, as a form of exercise, brisk walking in the early morning hours at least three times a week.
That meant waking up at about five o'clock in the morning, shivering in the cold morning air while your body is practically still asleep and your will to get up is at its most weakest and most pathetic. Then you have to grope your way out of bed, dress up and stumble out of the house into the chill of the still dark streets.
In Lianga, most joggers and walkers like to take to the main highway that bisects the town. Vehicular traffic in the early hours of the day is very light so running or walking beside or on the edges of the concrete pavement is quiet safe. In the murky air of early dawn, you can see the huddled figures often moving in groups occasionally talking among themselves but all intent on getting as much exercise before the light and heat of the coming day drives them indoors.
Personally, I like to do my walking on the streets of the town itself and along the sea that borders it on its eastern side. That way the activity involves not just the physical effort of burning calories and promoting cardiovascular fitness but also carries with it the added bonus of being able to be there and witness the town come alive as the dawn brightens into day and the townspeople wake up from the stupor of the night and rush about to greet and start the new day.
There is also the added attraction of being able, if you will time it just right, to catch the morning sun rise in the eastern horizon just beyond the mouth of Lianga Bay. Most mornings, unless it is rainy or exceptionally cloudy, the sunrises can be spectacular and feeling the first warm light of the day caress your skin as you head home can be both an invigorating and exhilarating experience.
Then there are the friends and acquaintances you meet or pass by as you do your thing across town. More than often, you exchange just a few words of morning greetings but occasionally you may suddenly come upon a old friend you have not seen for some time and somehow the early morning and the freshness of the day adds to the poignant intimacy of the chance meeting making it extra special and memorable.
I do wish that I could do my morning walks more often but laziness and the sometimes the other demands of life, usually strident and immediate take their toll. But when I can do it I intend to spare the time and make the effort to wake up early, sweat it out a bit and experience these pleasurable interludes.
Waking up early to exercise while necessary can be often a boring and not so pleasant task, but it is always nice to be able to combine it with the chance to greet and enjoy, even for a brief moment, the magic and wonder of the dawning day. All you have to so is see beyond the mundane and accept and welcome it for the wonderful thing it really is.