There's something magical about early morning
A new day dawns. On Friday I went to Tralee, taking the 7am Heuston Cork train as far as Mallow. It meant getting out of bed at 4.35am, before cycling across the city to the station.
Many of the rosters of Irish Rail drivers involve early rises. A driver has to be on site an hour before the scheduled departure time of his/her train. The first train out of Tralee every Monday is 4.45am. That means getting up in the middle of the night.
I left home at 6am. Plenty of stars to be seen. And also birdsong to be heard. There is little or no movement on the road but what traffic there is, seems to take advantage of the empty roads and travels at speed. The real-time signs at the bus stops are indicating that the next buses are due in 30/35 minutes. A number of people walking, probably going to work. A few cyclists and two people out running. Maybe they are running to work.
Once I cross the Grand Canal there are hints of day dawning. Cars stopped at traffic lights. But not much happening. Three large trucks parked bumper-to-bumper outside the Guinness brewery, perhaps filled with barley? And not a vacant space at the dublinbikes stand beside it. In an instant everything changes. As I cycle down by the side of St Patrick’s Hospital on Steevens’ Lane and arrive at the junction of Heuston Station, it feels like I have been transported into another world. There is traffic darting in every direction, there is a Luas at the Heuston stop, buses in the queue of traffic stopped at the lights. Within 30 seconds and a 300 metre distance, life has gone from slumber to wake mode.
It strikes me how right beside the early morning hub-hub near Heuston Station, people are most likely asleep in their beds in St Patrick’s Hospital. But within a short time the breakfast trolleys would be on the move. A new day dawns. What sort of a day was it going to bring to people? I had my day mapped out. I was going to Tralee to say thank you to the students in the CBS The Green for donations they raised for Concern.
Somewhere near the Grand Canal I had spotted a middle-aged woman. She may have been going to work. There was a look of weariness on her face. On a meagre wage? Maybe she was just managing to get by from day to day. What must it be like for people who are constantly worried where the next cent is going to come from? It doesn’t matter where they come from or what’s the colour of their skin. What must it be like for people who don’t know whether or not they will survive the day? People would be born, others would die during the day. For some it would be a day of great excitement, for others profound sadness and disappointment and all that among the ordinariness of everyday life.
It’s still dark, I wonder how thieves and crooks begin their day. Are they planning their next heist? Early in the morning, do they ever feel it’s a mug’s game and think of changing jobs?
There is something magical, mystical about the early morning. Cycling through a city before it gets down to business puts a whole new look on the place. It gives me a unique sense of ownership and belonging. A new day is about to unfold. I think of what the Psalmist wrote: “Awake, harp and lyre; I will awaken the dawn!”