early mornings i leave the house in the soft first lightening of sky. i drive a road that winds along the lake beside the mountains. it runs almost below lake-level- there's a levee between me and the water. i get to the beginning of this road just as the sun is rising.
it never gets old, that first gleam of newborn sunlight sparkling on the water. the low line of mountains in the distance gently backdrops the long expanse of whiteness. something in me leaps and throbs at the aching beauty of it all.
folks are jogging along the levee path- bright t-shirts jostle for positions. some are doing graceful ti-chi strokes- some simply stretching out the night stiffness. families stand around in comfortable clusters, enjoying the cool farewell of the night and the welcome promise of another day.
i drive along the road, expertly avoiding the potholes and the bicycles and the tricycles and the trucks and other oncoming vehicles- playing chicken is essentially what i'm doing- but carefully. the beauty of the morning makes me a relaxed chicken-player...the mist over the lake begins to dissipate as the kilometers tick off along the road.
it's not far till we curve east, and the light is blinding. i put on my shades and lower the visor. the river, oh! the river...bounded by green marsh grass waving in the wind, flat as a prairie plain, running straight east into the gray-purple hills that beckon it with open arms. the beauty of it hurts me, calls me.
we cross the floodway bridge- more vehicles and people now- slower traffic- but the arms of the river reach out to me, begging me to step down from the little bamboo loading platform on the shore and into a long motor-canoe and point it into the morning.
where does the river go? what wonders would i see if i ever had the time to just stop, to just park the vehicle at the side of the road and actually follow it into the east?
i think of the brave mouse reepicheep, hero of the "voyage of the dawn treader"- and i want to be him; to clamber into my little coracle and paddle off singing into the sweet water that rushes up into the 'utter east' and eternal morning.
but i have not the time, so i drive on...i drive on past the water, every day, wishing that duty did not call me. wishing, oh! longing, that i had the luxury of endless time and energy to follow this haunting silver dream.