early morning risers club
Softly, I sneak out the front door before my absence can be noticed by anything other than the note I have left. I am not too far from home and already my toes feel the cool of dew-drenched sneakers. I bob and weave under trees that block the unofficial walkway and note that this path is yet to be disturbed for the new day, on account of one, two, three, four, five, make that six spiderwebs that wrap themselves in my hair, around my shoulders and onto my cap.
Sparingly, I pass others out walking, and we exchange nods accompanied with “Morning!” and a smile. Most of them, anyway. Some seem to take dislike in my tiger print skin-tight bike shorts and sports bra — a dislike painted on their face — but a gratitude from my skin in the already humid air. Others ogle my outfit and what fills it, and think it goes unnoticed.
Dogs look up at me as we pass, and our eyes exchange a “Be my friend?”, some extend the invitation by giving me their ball to throw. The wobble of golf clubs hitting each other can be heard, as the cart is pulled over gravel and the first to tee off make their way to the course covered in a mist that extends to the ocean.
I head out of civilisation, passing the final opportunity to get caffeinated before my destination and resist the temptation. I leave behind paramedics and salt-covered surfers to enjoy their brew. Breaking off to quieter backstreets, the sun attempts to break through — both the gum trees lining my left-hand side and the mist — as she rises over the ocean. Overhead I am enveloped by rosella song, while it temporarily drowns out distant cars starting, ocean waves crashing and other walker's conversations approaching. The air changes as I pass under a willow tree and the humidity seems to disappear for the five steps it takes to glide under its giant umbrella.
In a desire to be free from anything weighing me down, I have come empty-handed. I regret not bringing a water bottle as I get higher and higher and the path gets steeper and steeper. But I soon forget when my attention is captured by a previously undiscovered beach shack disguised as a community hall.
Reaching the top of the climb, I feel the cool canopy of gum trees thicken and my temperature adjusts as my breath shortens. The sound of the crashing waves over the side of the cliff, unseen, move in my ears, rendering the ringing that is ever present, silent. The magpie calls in morning song to tell me I am almost there.
There. With the sun illuminating the ocean top and the sand glowing golden in her wake, I stare out to the horizon — a fuzzy horizon swallowed in the thick air — breathing in and out and soaking it in.
Soaking in my breath returning to normal.
Soaking in the father and small child in his arms, exiting their car and admiring the view.
Soaking in the heavy breathing and sweat-soaked joggers who double over upon reaching their destination.
Soaking in the power walkers taking a side exit to another track.
Soaking in the calm.
Then I begin my descent taking a different trail. The cicada’s hum carries me down the path covered in dry leaves that disappointingly do not crunch under my step and I feel further and further away from anything but nature and it gets quieter and quieter the deeper I get. When suddenly the ground beneath switches to a boardwalk that is hollow beneath my feet, I am abruptly aware of the sound of my steps and am brought back to the present. The sun, now high in the sky, seeps through thick forest to light up patches of trees in a golden glow and as I push forward, it flickers across my face.
My walking meditation is disrupted by runners conversing in between loud breaths, who approach slower than they seem to. After they pass, the track seems to get so narrow, that the trees swallow me up and I feel a calmness I haven’t felt in a long time. I get to a fork in the “road” and choose. When I choose, everything opens, the sun pours in, flies buzz around, distant waves can be heard again and a kookaburra calls to me.
Suddenly it feels like I am saying “Morning!” more frequently — every few steps — and giving way to people running, and people running giving way to me. The Morning Risers have begun materializing and stirring as they meet The Early Morning Risers already on their way back home.
Lovely reader, are you an early morning riser?
if you would like to show your thanks for this free weekly love letter
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here are three things I struggled with this week:
I realise, through my own lack of sharing, that my family don’t know the extent of my sobriety so they speak weirdly about their desires to have a dry week and cut back on drinking as if to impress me. As if my getting sober was an easy choice. As if my getting sober was fun and painless to do.
💟 Realising I am doing the exact same things for my Poppy that I do for my 3-year-old niece in terms of what he needs help with. Then realising that she will keep learning and he will keep needing more help.
🧳 I need to get my checked bag to 20kg and my carry-on to 7kg as per airline standards. As they were when I arrived in November. As they were before I was met with family and friends who insist on buying me things when I say please don’t. Am I being ungrateful? You tell me. Good problem to have? Sure. But a problem nonetheless.
here are three blessings from this week:
🌊 Ocean swims with my Dad.
🌙 The moon.
💐 Fresh flowers.
here are three goals for the coming week:
⚖️ Balance my time.
⏸️ Remember to ask “How important is it?” before speaking or acting.
Be kind. Especially, especially, when it is the last thing I want to do.
here is something I enjoyed this week:
My very talented friendstarted a BRILLIANT substack and it is incredible. I would love for you to subscribe over at !
pics or it didn’t happen:
I love you. I’m so grateful to those who read my substack 🧡 because I really love writing it to you,