When my alarm goes off, the sky glows with a blue hint of the morning sunrise. Turning off my alarm, I moan internally, wishing for just another hour of sleep, but I roll out of bed anyway. The morning run is part of me now. It is important to the person I am and the person I am becoming. I dress in my old blue t-shirt and exercise pants and tell myself that I must buy better running clothes soon, but not yet. I’ll wait a little until I’m thinner, and faster. By the time my teeth are brushed and I’ve had a drink of water, I’m more awake and ready to head out. Stepping out the door, I realize just how cold 40 degrees is and I’m tempted to turn around and go back in. The air is cold and still smells of last night’s rain. I convince myself that by the time I’ve gone a couple of blocks, I’ll be warm again and that when I get home there will be the triumph of completing one more run. I can do it. I am stronger than my bed and the cold weather and I’ll be back at it again tomorrow.
The wall behind my desk is scattered with photos of the rusty, red-orange desert stone formations near where I live. I love those photos. If sunrises melted into hard, tangible earth, they would streak across the landscape just like that. A red watercolor with vertical drips that puddled at the bottom and orange horizontal streaks running below the horizon; the blue of the sky so intense you feel the heat of the sand, taste the grit in the dust stirred up by your feet, and know there could not possibly be any orange or red left for another sunset. Until evening comes, when the formations are cast into blackening shadow and the sky steals back it’s color from the earth to create a fire-show streaking across the western sky. Finally all the colors fade and the world is plunged into cooling darkness until morning, when the earth steals the sunrise colors and makes them solid again.