Bless the glorious sun beaming through the south facing window on my laptop and outstretched legs as I began to write. I sat warm and toasty on the couch and even though it was pretty chilly outside still, the sun felt so warm in that moment I could actually believe it was Spring.
Thursday morning, my little one crawled into my side of the bed at 5:53 declaring, "My dreams are over." What a mix of total sweetness and oh-jeezus-its-early! We have one of those clocks that glows green when he's allowed to come into our room in the morning, but lately with the sun rising earlier and earlier, so is my 4 year-old, and our magic clock seems to have lost its magic. Mostly I love morning cuddles and being surrounding by my whole family before the day gets rolling, but 5:53 seemed pretty unwelcome in that moment. And also, mostly, we tend to fall back asleep for a bit in these situations. However, in a surprising moment of inspiration, I quietly sneaked out of bed as it occurred to me that I could actually get in my ledges hike before the day had even begun if I was stealthy like a ninja... and I was! A few tip-toes and some hiking boots later, I was headed out the door.
Bristol seemed relatively quiet but I could hear the morning commuters zipping down 116 on their way to work, as I began my hike and my new boots began their rub-rub-rub on my heels. The first, oh, 1/3 of a mile or so of the journey is a steep gravel logging road that also leads up to a low water tower. From this spot I usually catch my breath for a minute before heading up the foot trail that leads to the view of Bristol. Today while doing just that, I looked up to see the sun making first contact with the southern ridge of the gap. The still bare trees allowed for a lovely view that will soon be filled in with leaves. I was glad for the empty space between the 1000s of trunks and naked branches, and I was glad for my glimpse of the early morning light.
Just when I thought I must have been the only human on the hill that morning, down bounded a bouncy and chipper Melanie Kessler with a grin from ear to ear. This Bristol friend of mine was doing the exact same thing as I was - taking advantage of the early hour, sneaking away from her kiddos for a brief moment and soaking up some nature and exercise before the world began to buzz. With a brief hug and a school girl giggle exchange over how lucky we were to be where we were in that very moment, we kept on our separate ways.
I don't think much entered my brain that morning. And how nice is that? No planning. No scheming or worrying. No weights on my shoulders or deep thoughts taking up space in my mind. Just a little walking meditation, and a change in routine. Its been a while since I've felt much freedom in getting exercise and I could list a ton of excuses that really aren't worth going on about. But now that there's a little more light in the morning, and my small human is sleeping more consistently, I do believe I see the early hours as a viable workout option. Guess I was just ready for a little shift. Don't get all crazy... I doubt I'll be that person up for a jog at 6 AM everyday or anything. But I'm psyched to see the reality of using that time to give myself something I know I want: me in nature, me exercising, me making time to fill up my day with what makes me feel good.
Hi, my name is Ali Dawson Gibson. I'm a healer, a singer and a teacher. This Blog, 52 Weeks of the Ledges, is from 2016 when I hiked this awesome Bristol Ledges trail once and week and shared my experiences. Enjoy!