A Year of Mornings

I know that some of you will be familiar with Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Condgon Barnes' A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart. Or perhaps you might be more familiar with their blog 3191 Miles Apart.

I found out about their blog when a BlogHer Contributing Editor sent out an email pointing us the rest of us to the blog a few years ago. (I find all the best blogs through these ladies.) It intrigued me every now and then I'd go in and spend a half hour or so just looking at their photographs. Somehow though I never quite got around to picking up the book that they had released. Something reminded me of it recently and I added to my library list and then I sat down and just looked.

The connection between these two women is rather striking when you sit down and look at all of their photographs at once. Neither knew what the other would be taking a picture of that day and yet many days there was a symmetry between them. Maybe it was a colour, or the composition. Maybe it was that they both took photos of hard-boiled eggs. Maybe a line from one photo seemed to finish off in the second.

There is an intimacy in the photographs, and a tranquility. I am a morning person. I come by it honestly. My mother works in an industry that demands early mornings. As a kid I was always the one that other people's parents kind of hated to have sleep over - my internal alarm clock was firmly set at 6:45m. I still do get up early more often than not. I sleep in a tiny bit on the weekends but my idea of sleeping in does not always align with other people's. I love sleeping (my bed might be one of the things I'd most want if stuck on a deserted island), I kind of hate to sleep in. Perhaps I listened to my mother too much but it always makes me feel as though I have wasted the best part of the day. This is that Stephanie Condgon Barnes had to say about sleeping in in her forward:
I am no songbird, but morning is my favorite time of the day. On that rare day when I sleep in, I awake with a start, feeling as if something has been stolen from me, and I mourn the morning I could have had.

What I like about mornings is that they  just seem to be ripe with possibilities. They can set the tone for the day. They can be the best part of the day. From Maria Alexandra Vettese:
While many parts of my day are full of what might have happen, what I could be doing, what I haven't yet finished, mornings offer a time when I am nowhere but right there "in it."

I have a dream of what mornings should be. Wake with the early sun. Coffee brewing, cooking breakfast while the sun streams in through the window. Quiet. Peaceful. Slow. Sometimes I get this, usually on the weekends or on vacation.

The reality of most my mornings is something different. The first alarm goes off at 6:15am. Piper starts her morning dance of crawling over us or running around the bed meowing at us and then running out the door. You know, in case we've forgotten where the food dish is. Unless Lee accidentally hits snooze causing the first alarm to repeat in five minutes, the second alarm goes off at 6:30am. Lee will get up and feed the cat. I may linger for a bit, depending on how sleepy I am and how cold it is outside of the covers. If it is cold I will probably hide under the covers a little longer.

Eventually push myself out of bed and stumble to the bathroom. Then I head to the couch where my laptop is waiting for me and I'll do a half hour or more of work while watching the morning news. Lee brings me juice, coffee and breakfast because otherwise I'd have nothing. When I've finished however much work needs to be done that morning I'll stumble to the shower, throw on some clothes, maybe some makeup and then roll out the door and head to work. Depending on the time of year I may or may not get to see a tiny bit of sun stream in through the window before I head out the door. It's usually not a particularly stressful morning, but it's not tranquil or quiet either.

Maria and Stephanie's mornings seem more peaceful. I'm sure they are not always. After all a picture is just a moment. But the fact that they looked for that moment is what makes it special.

Recommended for morning people. Warning: may cause craving for hard-boiled eggs.