Mornings are my favorite time of the day. I like to wander about the house silently, or grab my keys for a drive into Madison. Few cars pass me. I glide along the strip malls whose storefronts are dark,lonely. No signs outdoors glittering, beckoning. I take the backroads where few houses stand and marvel at the sun as it streaks through the trees with its yellow fingers caressing the leaves.
Where most people enjoy the night lights of favorite cities of their travels, I like the mornings after. I remember seeing the twinkling night lights of Venice, New Orleans, Paris, Madrid, whose carnivals of music, laughter, and foreign tongues stir the pot of nightlife and continue into the early morning until revelers stumble to their beds.
In these same cities I wander the streets near the hotel and, with the exception of water gushing from hoses, brooms swish-swishing, and silverware clanking inside open doors, I am alone. These scenes lay bare the awakening of cities whose inhabitants stagger up for another work day while the late-nighters sleep until noon. Sometimes I encounter an early riser sipping his coffee on an upstairs balcony or leaning inside the downstairs entrance. Unexpectedly, a lone dog follows me, hoping for some bit of food; a parrot in his cage fluffs his feathers in the cool air; a housemaid shakes into the air sheets of a touseled bed. The sounds increase when bikers tinkle their bells, trucks clank open their back doors, and men appearing with loads on their dollies, begin to unload. Morning has begun. One deep breath announces the scents of baked goods and coffee. I sit outside the first open cafe and enjoy breakfast like a native.