Early Sunday mornings are asynchronous to my night owl nature, but favors to friends are not. So this Sunday morning I awoke with a start to help a friend attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
It’s been seven years since I ran my last marathon in an unsuccessful attempt at the same qualifying feat. I am nowhere near marathon shape, but I am still fast enough to be a part of a five man relay group that will pace him for 6:30 miles. I had miles 15 through 20 of the “Peoples Marathon” aka the Marine Corps Marathon.
I had forgotten how the city looks at this hour, how she transforms herself from the teeming energy of optimistic nightlife to the comparative tranquility of Sunday morning realities in a few short hours.
Perhaps because I know that I won’t see this side of the city for a spell, I take particular note of her charms this morning. I find joy in the parents pushing their young charges in strollers. I smile at bleary eyed chefs arriving for the brunch shift, eager believers entering churches for a weekly dose of faith, and police officers who are probably on the fourth hour of their watch.
This time of morning the city has so many sights, and sounds with which I am unaccustomed. Yes, I see them at other times, but they seem so unfamiliar at this unfamiliar hour.
I do chuckle a bit at the party boys and girls so obviously still wearing costumes of the night before.
As I cross one bridge over Rock Creek Park, I am convinced that this is the month when real estate with views proves the worth of their premiums since the tree line is awash in red and gold.
I mouth the words “nice ride” to a man I encounter at stop light. I make a mental wager that he was taking his very shiny, very expensive, very convertible mid-life crisis out for a spin.
I nod at a trio of Marines as they pass me on their morning run.
I stop for a moment and just soak in the stillness in time, the quiet of a normally disquiet city.
The city is the same that I have loved for so long but somehow different at this hour. It’s not unlike a longtime love who suddenly does something different with her hair. She is no more or less attractive than before the new Do, just different; and that variety keeps things fresh.
I think I need to rise early more often to see me my city this way.