Manila — I'm an early riser. I always wake up at 5 am every day, even earlier. On some rare occasions, I wake up past that time when I stayed up late that night or had difficulty sleeping. Often, I am able to complete what doctors advise as a healthy eight-hour sleep. If not, I would be cranky the whole day (as all sleep-deprived people feel).
My body clock, or the usual sleep-wake schedule or pattern which science refers to as circadian rhythm ("circum" means "around" and "dies" means "day"), makes me witness the sunrise. When I'm on travel and I am able to find time in the morning, I savor it when I have a view of the sun creeping up the horizon at daybreak.
I have a work engagement that requires me to go out early to be at work by 7 am. But with the harried preparation to go out of the house and commute, I don't get to see the sunrise. I see glimpses of it only through the sunlight peeking through bus windows and buildings or gleaming from the trees.
Prior to my busy on-my-way-to-work mornings, I do my morning walk. It's my exercise. I believe it when doctors say the best walk is the one that is done at sunrise.
However, I feel funny on some days when I'm the only walker in the neighborhood without a dog. I don't wish to keep up with the neighbors but I'm lucky because I don't get to fuzz over a pet, which assures me a great time to watch people walking with their dogs.
As a kid, I remember my father, who is also an early riser, leading me to watch the sunrise. He always said it is healthy to bathe in the sun's first peek as it slowly warms the earth. The greatest sunrises of my childhood were those that were accompanied by crowing roosters, tweeting birds and chorusing crickets.
The sound amplifies the gray and yellow colors that accompany the sun as it rises from the dark, misty mountains. There were sunrises over rivers and water. There were sunrises over swaying plants and flowers. But like me, my dad also loved the sunset. He said it helps if you experience the beginning of a new day and how it ends.
But unlike sunsets, sunrises have a different effect on me, though. I find sunrises beautiful and gentle, but sometimes, I don't like the feel of being pressured to start the day. I am not fond of anything bright, (probably I'm photophobic), but the weight of a new day that compels me to get moving is one thing I dislike about sunrises.
On one hand, the thing I love about a sunrise is its promise of anything that can happen in a day. People say a full, 24-day cycle is just a tiny speck in the ocean of time but lovingly, it begins with a sunrise, that photogenic sight that greets us as we rise from our unsettled beds and rumpled dreams.
We may ignore the sunrise as we go along but this marvel happens every morning and we tend to forget about it. It is a reminder for us to step back and savor the newness of a day and what it represents -- however clichéd it may be – a new day, a new beginning.
When I see a sunrise, I wish it doesn't end. I wish it would stay peaceful and promising. But by the time I want it to be there for me, it is no longer dawn. It would be high noon.
Diana G. Mendoza is a longtime journalist based in Manila.