“Do you really wanna run along behind
Trails of gold and silver?”
– In the Open, Benjamin Francis Leftwich
There’s a special word for ‘dawn’ in Spanish: la madrugada. It has to be said in one breath for you to feel the magic but I just love the way it rolls off the tongue; kind of reminds me a little of driving in a 4 x 4 on an untarred road in rural Guinea and how rocky that can be. Apparently there’s varied interpretation of what part of the morning la madrugada covers, but I suppose whenever one might consider “early” could be considered as madrugada. La madrugada, in my own interpretation, is being up at that time in the morning when everyone else is still asleep. When you feel like no one else exists yet and you can finally have a piece of solitude in the world.
Whenever I’m up early and all set to leave by the first light of day, I always think of my last day in Barcelona in the summer of 2011, when my traveling partner and I set out early from our hostel to catch the twelve-hour train to Granada. Fortunately we reached the train earlier than it was scheduled to leave, but for some reason just that memory of trudging through the uncrowded streets of the Passeig de Gràcia with a backpack on our back and that feeling of anticipation bubbling in our stomach as we were about to embark on a new journey just stayed with me to this day.
Last summer I was walking along the canals in Copenhagen when I came across a boat with a massive bird painted on to it, and it just reminded me of this prompt and the saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” I must confess that I myself am not exactly a “morning person”, but if the situation does call for maximum functionality in the morning, who am I to fight fate?
The picture I was thinking of however is that of my mother when we were in the bus heading from Cambridge to London, taken just as we were passing by the London Eye at the other side of Thames. When I look at this photo and how the morning sun catches her eye I think of how grateful I am to have her. The early bird may get the worm but behind each and every one of my successes, the person who’s always had my back is:
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Early Bird.”