I think the early morning is the most beautiful time of day. There is something incredibly fresh and promising about the early morning; it is clear and full of possibilities. Everything is good; you have not yet eaten two cookies too many; not yet gotten in a fight with your spouse. You haven’t wasted two hours of your day doing something you would rather have not done.
It is just good.
In Ethiopia, almost everyone is smiling in the morning.
In an Icelandic winter, they don’t see “morning” until nearly noon.
In the United States, though, almost everyone faces their mornings downtrodden.
I get onto the shuttle bus in the morning and people – all in their neutral-colored overcoats – board with solemn looks of sheer despair and surrender on their faces. Maybe I am being dramatic. Probably, I am.
But still, exaggeration aside, these people do not act or look happy. They are gray, with gray faces and gray coats. They look tired. Or they look bored.
On the shuttle bus, the passengers are silent. We may greet someone, if we work with them, but overall, we say nothing. We see the same people every day, and yet we all focus inward, on our own unhappiness. We play games on our phones or we read books or we simply stare straight ahead. (Looking around the bus, I see one person even looking at the world outside the window. One and a half, if you count me, though I am also writing.)
And, yeah, there is that: some people write, too.
All of us occupy ourselves (or not) while we sit in silence for twenty minutes.
And I am not saying that a lot can be changed – it is largely a cultural thing. I could strike up conversation, but doing so might mean I am irritating someone. Or interrupting their reading or their game (new high score!)
Or their writing.
In Ethiopia, people greet one another. They walk hand in hand. They have their shoes shined by a guy doing so for a living, perched on a little box at the edge of a dirty sidewalk, and the two talk as the work is done, laughing in a language I don’t understand. But this is not exemplative of our own world.
So all I am saying is this: even if we are not going to be “people persons” – that is, strike up conversation and greet each other with handshakes and warm hugs – I think we can all at least be “morning people” – and by that, I mean that I think we can all afford to look around at the sunshine (earlier every day, at this time of year) and marvel at all that we have, with another day, and all the potential that that day may promise us, if we only choose to be more gay than gray.