By Christopher Cudworth
Those of us who run and ride tend to be early risers. Some get out the door before the sun even rises. In winter we may not even see the sun during our workouts. Just cold trudging or riding in pre-dawn darkness.
Which is why this time of year in North America the dawn is of particular value. It lifts our spirits for one thing. It may not be much easier getting out of bed when the sun is just coming up, but once we’re out the door to discover the day, things take on a whole different look and meaning.
Perhaps those many mornings mix together a bit in your mind. Over the years even the best mornings blend together.
But then you face a fresh new dawn and begin your conversation with the morning sun. It may be red on the horizon. Then yellow. Finally it rises above the angle of the atmosphere and turns white for the sky.
We run or ride with the sun appearing to cross the sky above us. But of course that’s not what’s really happening. The earth is rotating and moving through space at the same time.
It took the human race thousands of years to figure that out once we started to record history in something other than oral tradition. For a long time it would have been blasphemy to suggest the earth was anything but the center of the universe. Our dialogue was with God alone in terms of creation. We envisioned our deities as existing in the sky. We talked to them up there. Many still do. We live in a prison of our own fantasies at times. Athletes still do point at the sky and give thanks. But their focus may be misdirected.
When we run or ride and feel the wind against our faces, it’s easier to realize that if there is divinity at work in the world, it is not just above us, it is all around us. We recognize that the wind in our faces and the sun in our eyes is a potent symbol for the challenges we face in daily life. We look for symbols of its force at work in our lives.
Yet when the wind is at our backs and the sun warms our shoulders on a chilly morning, we barely take time to give thanks. It’s so easy to give ourselves credit for those easy miles. Even if we do our workouts on our own, we are never really alone. The forces of nature and the people with whom we interact all feed into our efforts.
Instead it is always good to have an honest dialogue with the dawn. When things are simple and nothing has yet occurred to make you feel superior or inferior, give simple thanks for the fact that you can do this thing you do. You run. You ride. You swim.
Because it’s not just that life is short, or that time is precious. It’s even more than that. It’s that your mind needs to exist in the moment or you lose perspective too easily. You point at the sky rather than your own heart, and what you are called to do in this world.
So get on out there and have a dialogue with the dawn. Bring home what you learn about your own mind. Share it with others. A dialogue with the dawn can do wonders in your life.