There is little more glorious to me than waking bright-eyed in the early morning hours and being fully alert to witness the earth’s rotation sun-ward. It was Thoreau’s passage in Walden about mornings that made me fall in love with the man.
Here’s a taste:
“All memorable events, I should say, transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere. (…) It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men. Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me. Moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep. (…) To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour” (Excerpted from Walden “Chapter 2: Where I Lived, and What I Lived for).
In the spirit of Thoreau I have begun a new tradition. Rather than staying up extraordinarily late on New Year’s Eve–and subsequently starting the year off in a drowsy slumber–I choose to wake up with the sun on the first of the year. Last year I went snowshoeing at sunrise. This year, in honor of the blue moon, I went snowshoeing at night and awoke early to enjoy Lehi’s Saratoga Hot Springs.