Stop. Take a deep breath. Feel that dry chill scratching at your throat, clearing your nostrils. Feel your eyes water in the wind and piercing sun. See your breath fog up in front of your face. See that amazing colour on the underside of the clouds.
In some places of the world it may be way, way too cold to even think of going outside before mid-day, and in some parts dawn may be the only time you can go outside because it’s too hot otherwise. But where I am, dawn in winter is a lovely time to stretch your legs. Even with only t-shirt and jeans on, because you warm up with the exercise in no time.
No other people to bother you, running you over while cycling on the path, brushing past you listening to ipods with their jeans around their knees. Cars only pass every twenty seconds, so you can even walk on the road on suburban streets. No one is outside their house to hear you hum that song stuck in your head; the only other sound is that of your footsteps, thudding on the path, crunching on gravel, squelching on dewy grass.
The magic of this is that solitude—you know there must be someone somewhere near you, but you can’t see them. Time for thinking, me-time, and just going slow for a change. And it is so refreshing: if you’re sick and with blocked nose, you don’t need a Soother or a Strepsil—just breathe! You might have been cold in your room at home, or you may be planning to turn the heat on at work—with walking at that time and temperature, you’re warm and sweating in no time! You save money on heating and going to the gym that day.
Even if your neighbourhood is nothing special to look at, or you’re just walking in bare concrete city, everything looks better at sunrise. Grey paths glow in the early sun, white clouds turn all sorts of colours, and light peers through the black silhouettes of tree leaves. The air is light with dry freshness (if it didn’t rain the previous night), or heavy with damp coolness (if it did rain). Either way, it feels nice.
Walking at dawn in winter refreshes you, gives you time alone, warms you up and gets you ready to face the day. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, that you did something good just for you, and that is