Now that summer is fully here, and the sun streams into my bedroom well before 5 AM, I’m up with the robins. Then, sneakered-and-laced-up, I’m off to walk the beach.
“Morning has broken, like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.”
Striding down Oak Street I often meet my neighbor Barbara, heading home from her three-miler, yet still keeping a steady pace as she listens to “Hillbilly Elegy” which she downloaded on her iPhone 6X from Audible.
At the end of my street, I round the corner and spot waves sparkling in the distance. A car passes. A blissful yellow Lab hangs out the back window, doggy-smiling, looking forward to his romp on the beach.
On Mothers Beach I see a group of honed athletic ladies, stretching their bodies or doing pushups on the sand. They run back and forth from the water to the sea wall, their stamina unending. It’s the Kennebunk Boot Camp group. They could give pause to the rookies at Parris Island.
Walking along, I pass a jogging couple in their early 30s. He’s pushing a double-wide that holds two smiling toddlers, both wearing shades. Mom trails her crew, but her Brooks Transcend 3’s help her keep up.
“Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall on the first grass…”
A black pickup truck is parked at middle beach. The owner sports a Sox baseball hat, wrap-around shades and a paint-splattered sweatshirt. He’s watching the waves, sipping his coffee, chilling out before heading off to his construction job on Golf Club Drive.
Two middle-aged bikers wearing helmets and spandex breeze past. From the opposite direction, a no-nonsense middle-aged lady approaches me on the sidewalk, her arms pumping rhythmically. She grunts, “Hello.”
I hear a morning symphony of waves lapping steadily as the tide rolls in, as gulls swoop and caw.
“Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the word.”
Why do I walk? More aptly phrased, perhaps: why do I walk so early in the morning?
It’s simple. As I walk along, I write a brilliant article that VANITY FAIR uses as a cover story. I win a major political argument with Mr. Wonderful. I compose an acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Blogging. I lose five pounds because I walk to the very end of the beach. I win $25,000 in the Maine State Lottery.
Okay, really? The world is a beautiful place at 5:30 AM. It’s that simple. You ought to try it some time. You might even get lucky and spot a swan, like my friend (and great photographer) Ken Janes did recently.
(In addition to thanking Ken for his exquisite photography, I’d like to thank Cat Stevens who introduced me to the song, “Morning Has Broken.” I did a little research and discovered: “Morning Has Broken” is a Christian hymn first published in 1931.
English pop musician and folk singer Cat Stevens included a version on his 1971 album, “Teaser and the Firecat.” The song reached number six on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and number one on the U.S. easy listening chart in 1972.)