6 a.m. is my time. The boys are still asleep in their cozy beds, dreaming their small child dreams. They are safe and undemanding.
I walk into the living room, half open both sets of curtains and look out on Kingston Bridge, quiet for the moment, asleep like the homeless people living in the arches underneath. In half an hour the hum of traffic will be dominating, but for now it is just the quiet of the morning air.
As I start to stretch out with my daily exercises I watch the world outside, the early morning workers, trudging by in their dark coats, heading to jobs they would rather do without in the cold morning air. Puffs of their breath visable. The occasional bus, some with blacked out windows, empty chariots heading to where they need to be to start their day. Others with blue needle-free lighting, slumped shapes in the windows of the upper decks, blurred by the condensation on the windows. I wonder if they are happy with their lives. Did they achieve the dreams of youth? Silent ambulances with the blue flashing lights illuminating my otherwise dark apartment. What is tragedy and pain for someone else is light and motion for the world around. There are no sirens this early though, there are no cars to stop their quick passage of salvation.
Cyclists with flashing lights, hi-viz and purpose. Some going to work, others enjoying the quiet roads to get some miles in. Runners, eating up the silent miles, not joggers with their fancy clothes and slow paces, but the real guys kicking out and making good time. I would be out there if it wasn’t for the boys, probably heading for the parks on my bike as I do most weekends. But not today, a single parent is a prisoner of circumstance, and I continue to exercise like that prisoner in his cell. Confined but focused on my goal. You have to work with what you have.
At other times of year the sky will start to lighten now, in the summer I can watch the sunrise through the window as I perform the daily routine. But in the dead of winter, the day is still far away. The eerie street lamps setting the mood. But slowly the quiet tranquility, the early morning privacy is replaced by the traffic, the cars and vans hurrying, rushing, fighting for supremacy on a road they all share. You are not in traffic, you are traffic. It is almost offensive the way the quiet and beauty of the morning is pulled apart by the fixation society has with single person transport. You can almost feel the pollution in the air. The tall trees all around me start to do their work. Keeping the air clean enough to breath as mankind does his best to pollute everything he sees and touches.
My exercises are finished. It’s time to get on with the day. But I have shared that peaceful time of the day once again, but Kingston Bridge is now a flurry of motion as real life begins. All the while the river Thames runs dark underneath, washing away the moments to places far away.