A European Sort of Morning

A summer morning dawned with the usual slanted light as the sun moved north. Crisp, chilly air with a hint of flowers/urban scent/hardness eased in through the part-open window. The hour was early. At least two hours would pass, perhaps more, before it was time for breakfast. For a moment I thought I was in Central Europe.

Nope, still in the High Plains. It was a strong reminder of just how much the little details set the scene, in this case the light and the “feel” of the morning air.

I’ve spent so many Junes on the road to various places that I’ve become attuned to the differences in light. Out in the desert southwest, sunrise is at least an hour earlier than back home, wherever home happened to be at the time. So I’m up and about well before the Hour of Food, trying to sneak around so I don’t wake up those who are sleeping the sleep of the just. It’s a good time to go stretch one’s legs, take photos before the light gets too direct and harsh, and have a moment of quiet time with the birds. The wildlife, however, does require due care and consideration. The light is clear, with edges, often chilly and always dry.

Central Europe . . . In the cities, the hint of diesel exhaust is one of my markers, because trucks are only allowed to do deliveries early in the mornings. Cool soft air, full of moisture unless a cold front has passed, covers everything. The light is soft, filtered by clouds or humidity, and begins very early. By 0500 I can read without turning on the lights in the room (most of the time. Not always.) By 0530 I need a hat and long-sleeves when I venture out. Often the place is still and calm, with birds and perhaps the distant rumble of early traffic the only sounds. No, I take that back. A soft, steady Shhhh, shhhh, shhhh of a broom on cement and stone reaches my ears as an older woman in the faded floral-print uniform of matrons all over that part of Europe sweeps in front of her house or family business. We ignore each other as I pass, as one does. If she acknowledges me, I smile back. The city or town or hotel grounds are mind to meander as I please. No babble of voices comes from the market square, save on market days. The river or town stream murmurs in liquid tones as it dances through the little channels in the streets, or along its bed where the wall once stood.

Sometimes, that same light, the same cold late-spring air washes over the Texas panhandle, and for a moment I’m in a different place.


8 thoughts on “A European Sort of Morning

  1. Ahhhh … the life of a Morning Person.

    I am a Night Person. As Professor Grabel (of Grabel’s Law) explained, a Night Person is someone who believes that a sunrise is the most beautiful thing in the world, and the absolutely perfect way to end a day.

    Good Morning to all, and to all a good night!

    • I much prefer being a night owl. My natural tendency is to be more active at night than before ten AM. However, I am also light sensitive, and am not supposed to be out in the sun. If I’m going to get exercise, well . . . There’s a reason summer is my least favorite season, with “thunderstorm season” close behind.

  2. Good morning.

    The last few days here have been cooler than it has been.

    • It’s not bad here. Haven’t had a hard freeze in a couple of days, and I’m planning on filling the fire trailer (finally!).

      I need to do some repairs to the garden watering line, then that will be ready. Already removed half the dirt and tree-root clumps from the raised beds, and I have a fresh pile of just plain dirt to mix with the manure, compost, and SuperSoil. The plants should actually grow, assuming we don’t get frozen out again. IIRC, we had three hard freezes in June, with one lasting a few nights. On a typical year (waggles hand), two nights in June get that honor, though there’s a good reason why frostcloth is a permanent fixture for the raised beds.

      • My problem here is rain…and rain…and rain. The weeds are sneering at me.

  3. You’re up earlier than I am. 0600 is my ‘default’… And yes, smells early in the morning are sometimes the best cues as to location!

  4. Then there’s Colorado, where I woke to a foot of new SNOW Saturday morning, with more falling. It was wet Spring snow, and broke several tree limbs. One was from the maple in front of my house – six inches in diameter and 30 feet long. It blocked half the street until I managed to cut into manageable pieces and move it. My back is still complaining.

    • We got some of your cool air yesterday and today, and are getting some rain tonight. No snow, unless nickle size hail counts.

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