Good morning/ afternoon/ evening, Friends!
So this past week I have been doing a LOT of early shifts, 3:45AM- 12:15PM to be exact. which means a lot of time on the busses and walking the streets at a horribly early time. Although for the most part, I enjoy my job, these early mornings start to get a little testing after a few days- so, I am here, in my little corner of the internet once again for a little bit of creative therapy for me- and some escapism for you!
This week I have done 4 opens in a row (which is quite a lot) and I am starting to flake, its exhausting and really my body clock has got all out of whack- I eat lunch at 8am…I feel like that’s all I need to say for you to know just how messed up my body clock is. However, there is something beautiful about the world at this time, while everyone sleeps the world around us evolves, coming to life in a different way. Moreover, I find that even my street and the centre of town are completely different places under the sleepy blanket of the inky black night’s sky.
Walking down the path from my block of flats towards the roadside, avoiding the puddles from the recently cleared rainstorm I breathe in the crisp morning air and embrace its frosty bite. This morning I find myself out of the house early, too early even for my bus. So I am walking slowly to the bus stop and typing this on my phone as I go. aaah the beauty of modern technology.
I am greeted, like many mornings before, by a long line of tall streetlights, stretching down the roadside, their warm yellow tinted glow penetrating the darkness. Creating an orb of light surrounding them guiding me to my destination. It always amazes me at this time in the morning, how the whole world seems peaceful. While there is no one around, I can see the whole stretch down this road- parked cars, locked doors, puddles that lie completely still with no ripples dancing across their surfaces. The silence keeps me company as I start my day, alone.
Halfway to the bus stop now and as I turn onto the next road i am greeted by the same amazing view- from this road, I can see out over lines of residential homes, across the busy main roads and motorway connections all the way to the dense treeline that lines the edges of my small world. This morning I have time to actually look around me, at everything I am lucky to be a part of, at a place I worked so hard to be in.
Maybe there is a weird sense of deep self-reflection I get from these early mornings or maybe I’m just reading far too deep into things, but I feel like we- as human beings in the modern world- never actually stop to look. That we are always thinking ahead- living for the future, it’s like a sickness that has risen silently. We all wish our lives away and fail to appreciate what we have in each moment, until its too late to actually live in moments. That’s not something I want.
So standing here alone swallowed in the darkness, I am taking that moment. Counting each light I can see in the distance as they create the most beautiful man-made panoramic scene. I could be the only person in the world who sees this today at this moment and that thought alone is really quite magical, isn’t it?
I tear my eyes away to look at my watch. I need to move on from this, so i do just that, catching a glimpse of the lights reflected in an otherwise black puddle filling a pothole. Just as quickly as it arrived, the moment is gone and now lives on only in my memory -only to be forgotten, which It would be if I hadn’t or written it here, giving it new life and passing it on to you.
As I emerge from the alleyway I am greeted by two white eyes glowing in the distance, stalking me as I cross the road. cautiously I continue, keeping a watchful eye on their location. when their owner steps out from the shadows- a small fox stares back at me, unphased by my presence. I often see a fox on my walk to the busses at this time in the morning, sometimes they just dart in front of me chasing what I can assume would be their breakfast if they catch it and other times it’s like this. When for a short while we lock eyes, both curious about the other but not too curious as to get any closer. I wonder if its the same animal I have seen before, and even more so if it recognises me as the same human from yesterday? If it does recognise me does it see me as a friend or threat?
As I continue walking it loses its nerve and scampers away across the road and into the bushes. ‘until next time’ i think to myself.
On the last stretch of my walk now I am passing some smaller homes in a cul-de-sac, tucked away behind tall hedges safe from the business of the main road on the other side. Each house has roadside parking, roadside trees and a shared patch of grass which I imagine is looked after by the council. At this time in the morning, specifically at this time of year- each strand of grass is covered in dew. The single drops of water sitting in perfect spheres catch the light from the tall streetlamps towering above them, making each drop glisten like tiny diamonds scattered all along the ground. a sight missed by passers-by at any other time.
A small handful of the homes lining this cul-de-sac have lights on. I regularly see this at various points of this walk, every time I do it makes me think that these people are probably awake because they haven’t been to sleep yet. And here I am on my way to work for the day. These people are probably are still on Monday- but for me its Tuesday already. I move on, out of both fear that I’ll miss my bus if I hang around, and that if someone sees me staring at a random house at 2:40AM they may call the police on me.
Walking down a narrow pathway between two of the houses, I am closing in on the bus stop. this first section of my journey as almost over just as the second has almost begun.
I wait alone at the stop, which usually has more people waiting than just me, it’s unusually quiet. As I wait, parts of the world start to wake up.
Whispers of birdsong dance in the air, as if one young bird is trying to find out if his friends are awake yet or not. Before too long there is a response, then another and another. These are the things that I don’t appreciate in the daytime as they are overpowered by engines, car horns and the noises of everyday life.
2:58AM, the bus rolls in exactly on time, it’s still only me at this stop which is probably a good thing as the bus is so uncomfortably full already. There are no seats so I hold on to a bar, hoping it’ll keep me stable as I don’t have any sense of balance when I am standing on the flat ground- never mind when on a moving bus full of people.
There is barely room to breathe on the bus this morning, I wonder where all these people are going to, and why each of them are here at such a time if it isn’t for work. There are familiar faces dotted around from previous early morning excursions, but today these are outweighed by strangers with unfamiliar jawlines and unwelcoming features.
One man, in particular, takes my eye, slumped into a seat, his feet resting on the bar in front of him, his knees pressed into his chest. Looking as informal as he does I doubt he is going to work- he has a small cabin sized suitcase with him, but I wouldn’t point him out as someone who is flying anywhere either. But all of this isn’t what drew my attention- no no, what caught my attention was his phone. It keeps rining.
Someone out there is obviously trying to get hold of him, but he doesn’t answer. He doesn’t even acknowledge it, nor does he move at all of that matter. The phone just rings and rings until its timed out, at which point it is silent for only a minute or two before it begins the cycle again. All the time the man doesn’t move. He looks sad, hopeless even and I wonder what has happened in his life that has led him here. why he won’t answer the phone and who was on the other side? I felt like I was viewing a private moment in his character (any fellow Actors out there might know what I am referring to) and that this moment could be huge for him in the grand scheme of his life. Maybe I’ll write a short story around this scene at some point.
However, Before too long the man got off the bus, we left him sitting on a bench in the middle of the business district at 3:15am. I hope he was okay, and that he found his way through whatever emotional journey he was embarking on in that fleeting moment.
But here I am, on this bus moving as one with the bus and its passengers as we weave around potholes and rattle around corners. The automated voice calls out that the next stop is mine so I start to gather myself, putting my lanyard over my head I brace myself for another day. And this, my lovelies, is where my journey ends.
I hope you have enjoyed another journey to work with me, I love writing these accounts as it really gives me a chance to appreciate everything, seeing the world in a light I wish I was able to every second of every day.
I’ll speak to you all again real soon.
Until then live in the moment… not in the future.
Much Love- Whitney
For the first post of this series ‘3am Thoughts: A Rainy Commute’ Click here.