Before the World Awakes

Cool winds swirl about me as fruit vendors prepare their stalls for the day ahead. A wafting of conviviality as greetings of backslaps and hand claps are exchanged over morning coffees. A little beyond a stooped young man in sweats sleepily calls out to his chocolate lab who has ambled into a neighbour’s lawn. The dog looks transfixed as the boughs of a red maple sway hypnotically in the breeze. The leaves rustle. And I surmise that in truth it is an unsuspecting squirrel that has captured the lab’s scrutiny.

Traffic is non-existent. The air is fresh. And there is an almost reverential calm about the downtown core. It is the world before the world awakes. A rarity in North America’s 4th largest city, but it is present if little observed. A time of peaceful reflection when I have finished my morning run and am leisurely walking home before the start of my workday.

My mind is serene as I meander in and out of a myriad of musings. The clients I’ll be seeing. The laundry that needs to be done. The lure of coffee ahead. And whether or not it’s time for me to change my running shoes. I scroll through my split times and wonder how I was so slow in one part yet so quick in another. The adage that it all works out in the end proves true as overall my run is within my standard deviation of normal.

Yet time by its very nature is transitory. And these moments of calm too are ephemeral. Soon the multitude of morning commuters will flood the streets, bustling off to their respective offices. Cell phones will clang. Car horns will blare. Like the child who plays quietly on his own but is boisterous when with others, before long downtown Toronto will flip its switch to its “ON” position.

Still, my moment of quietude was had. And it will return. It returns each day. That tranquil calm before the rest of the world awakes.

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