I would awaken before anyone else, quietly put on a bathing suit and go to the white beach that led to the lake in front of our house. I can still feel the morning air, cool, with the promise of a hot day and thunderstorms to come. In the solitude of the early morning I could be what I was, a preteen boy. There were tadpoles to catch, sand castles to build and an imagination to run wild. I loved those early mornings but then I became a teenager and the joy of early mornings was replaced by adolescent pleasure of sleeping in.
During college, my joy of staying in bed became an inability to get out of bed; however after marriage and graduation from college, the responsibility of supporting a family meant I had to be up and going. The days of not being able to get out of bed were replaced by a lifetime of getting to the office early.
To make sure our roofing crews were on the road in the still dark early mornings. I would arrive before 6:00 a.m., open the office and meet with the foremen. The first thirty minutes of the day, were hectic, then there was a lull; a quiet time before the phone started ringing. That is when I would wander outside, drink a cup of coffee and savor the cool morning air. It was a time to catch my breath and collect my thoughts for the coming day. Early mornings were a solitary time until Terri and I opened our inn.
Since we served our guests breakfast in their rooms, morning was our busiest time of the day. We would get up at 5:00 a.m. and go non-stop for the next three hours; then after everyone was served there was time to sit outside, drink a cup of coffee and visit with the guests. The visits were engaging, open and rewarding. I appreciated those encounters in the coolness and promise of the early morning; however, I had not truly experienced the beauty of morning until my first visit to Mt. Hood and the Timberline Lodge.
I was hosting a tour of western lumber mills and forests for a group of lumber dealers and their spouses. We arrived at the snowbound lodge late in the afternoon; to make sure everything was ready for the day’s tour, I was up early the following morning. The sun was rising in the East as I walked out of the lodge entrance. Worried about slipping on ice, my eyes were focused on the steps; when I looked up, I caught my breath at the sight. In the distance to the south, bathed in the early morning light, were the golden-hued, snow-covered peaks of three distant mountains. A vision that still lingers in my memory.
Some people find a quiet time in the midday, others in the evening and there are those people who are always busy: never stopping to catch their breath. Creativity, problem solving, sanity demands a break from the constant demands of the day. For me, that break takes place in the early morning, when with a cup of coffee, I take time to collect my thoughts, organize the day to come and reflect on the blessings afforded to me.
“Every now and then go away and have a little relaxation. To remain constantly at work will diminish your judgment. Go some distance away, because work will be in perspective and a lack of harmony is more readily seen.”-Leonardo DaVinci