Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pleasures of the Pre-Dawn

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida
This season in Boot Key Harbor, I've been enjoying something that I don't usually get to do. I like to get up, and go outside in the cockpit about an hour before dawn.
Why is this unsual? In real life there are lots of obstacles to enjoying that particular pleasure. It might be too cold, there might be too much morning dew, there might be mosquitoes or other insects. Even the hour of dawn changes throughout the year and with lattitude. In Sweden, I used to like reading the morning paper on my patio in the early morning in summer, but up there the Sun had been up for 5 hours already. Or maybe we don't wake up that early in the first place. But this seaon in this place, none of those obstacles are present, so I'm enjoying it.
What's to enjoy? For starters, there is the tranquility of the hour. Very few pepole are up and around so background noise is less. (On land I used to like the pre-dawn songs of birds, but out here we never hear any song birds.) When there is noise, I can isolate it and identify it in my mind. I hear the cough of an outboard motor somone is trying to start far away. I hear the swish as someone rows a boat or paddles a kayak close by. I hear whistling kettles, and barking dogs. I hear jumping fish, diving pelicans, and occasionally breathing dolphins.
More to enjoy. The pre-dawn traffic. There are a surprising number of people who go ashore in thier dinghys at first light, or even before first light. At first I thought these were people going to work, but I gradually came to understand that most of them are dog owners. When the dog has to go he has to go, and the owner has to accomodate or risk the consequences. I know that even when I don't see the dog because these people make round trips pre-dawn. Anyhow, it is pleasant. I've come to regognize certain people who pass by Tarwathie every morning. We smile, wave, and sometimes call "good morning" to each other. That is reminiscent of sitting on ones front porch and exchanging pleasntries with passers by.
Sill more to enjoy. The sky. The dawns here are spectacular; just as good as the sunsets. The experience is slightly different because from where I sit, I see the western horizon clearly, but the horizon to the east is blocked by buildings and palm trees. Therefore, I can see the dawn sky becoming brighter and brighter, but most spectacular is the moment when the light streaming through the gaps in the palm fronds suddenly surges in brightness. I see graphically that that is the exact moment of the actual dawn.
We frequenly have clear skies here except for a few clouds very high in the atmosphere. Because of that, the pink clouds of sunrise and sunset often go all the way from east-to-west. We are used to seeing red sky in the west evenings and red sky in the morning in the east. But having red sky in all directions is special and magical. (I've been thinking of trying to get a still photo that shows that, but I've been stumped. Neither panorama nor fish-eye would do it well.)
While all this is going on, I'm using my computer to read the day's news. (Remember I'm a news junkie.) I'm also gulping down 32-48 ounces of coffee. By 0730, I'm ready to go below, spend some time on my physics course, and have something to eat. By that time, Libby is up too. By 0800, all of that morning stuff is done and I'm energized to tackle the activities of the day.

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