Le Matin

Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I discovered something about myself during my junior year of college that was, initially, difficult to admit. Living in an apartment complex filled with other college students who begrudged the early hours of the day, who groaned at the first sound of their alarms poisoning the air, I admitted, finally, that I might be a morning person.

I came to the conclusion in rather a roundabout way.  Tired of attempting (and FAILING) to work late into the night like my peers, I gradually fell into a routine of going to sleep whether or not my homework was finished, and waking up early the next morning to finish it.  Where in the late evenings, I'd strain my eyes to read every line of text (read: Facebook status), and force myself to finish analyzing each image (read: Instagram post), the mornings were a completely different story.  As sunlit rays snuck through the slats of the blinds in our living room on Villanova's west campus, I happily finished the work that had seemed so impossible the night before.

The more I accomplished, the more I grew to love the optimistic silence of mornings.  Waking up and doing things, or even just having extra time to make coffee or breakfast at home, became something I looked forward to, though I'll admit it felt like I was kind of "doing it wrong". Wasn't this the kind of thing I was supposed to start appreciating when I hit 30? 

It's certainly not always true. I'm more than capable of sleeping all day, well past noon and onwards, if the night before has been a bit of a late one. But, in general, I find that there's lots of things worth appreciating about mornings - as I discovered all those years ago in the living room of the affectionately nicknamed Spaceship, waking up early can be worth it.

Now that spring is on its way, the sun is finally rising at a reasonable hour. During the winter, it's close to nine o'clock in the morning by the time the sun lazily appears, and it's only half past four when it calls it quits. As you can imagine, winter's short and depressing days mean that once the seasons start shifting, moods are improved noticeably. This morning, noticing that the sun was beginning to rise as I got out of bed, I decided to go for a run to the jardin des tuileries.. And I'm so glad that I did.

One of the main differences between Paris and New York is that Paris sleeps. New York, in my limited experience, is moving always in all directions with people from everywhere doing everything.  It's intoxicating, it's exciting, it's truly something incredible and worth treasuring about that special place. Paris, though, ... sleeps. Shops are closed by eight, and aside from some exceptions, bars close at two am. Though the street lights stay on, the Eiffel Tower light turns off at two (too often serving as a reminder to GO HOME AND SLEEP NOW on weeknds!).  The city becomes sleepy, quiet, calm.  It was into this calm that I ran this morning, and it was really exceptional.  New York's energy is exceptional too, but in a different way. The calm of Paris in the morning is something worth experiencing, if only for the buttery boulangerie smell permeating the air on every corner, the Seine floating lazily on by as though stretching its legs for the day. The Eiffel Tower, without its yellowy nightlight glow, seems sinister on the horizon until the sun rises, finally, welcoming Paris to the daylight.

The stillness and calm of Paris this morning, though thousands of miles from that living room in west campus, reminded me so much of the same quiet optimism of mornings that I first fell in love with years ago - and it feels so good to rediscover. When I Instagrammed the picture above this morning, I wrote beneath: "This morning, running along the Seine was so calm. It felt like Paris was all mine."  What I failed to grasp, though, is that Paris, and my relationship to it, IS all mine. Sometimes it just takes waking up early to realize it. xx 



Faye Bullock said...

Oh this is so true! I do feel the exact same way when I wake up early enough and the streets are so quiet it feels as though the city belongs only to you - so magical :)


NC said...

One of the best ways to start the day! :)