I climb into the car, grateful we have a heated garage, I feel smug, warm and privileged. A heated garage is a simple luxury that I never take for granted.
Then inching out onto the street, I drive slowly through our community, I am the first. There are no tire tracks - none. I am alone. The car is warm. The music is playing softly. The snowflakes are melting quickly against the windshield - so quickly I don't even bother with the wipers.
The road might be slippery, but that isn't why I am driving slowly. I just want to relish this moment of driving over fresh snow, no tracks - just me and the snow still falling gently.
But then as I pull onto the Pembina Highway- it is over. The highway is black. The real early birds, probably the high achievers, are rushing about and the mood has changed. I step on the gas. I adopt their mood. I am now going to join a breakfast group of high achievers as well.
As I enter the Sals restaurant, open 24 hours, the waitress nods to me and I notice the tables have already been shoved together, set for the group.
I linger by the fireplace radiating heat - almost like a real fireplace - and then notice that there is no one in the place. Not a soul. There is usually some early bird or someone too lonely to stay at home, drinking coffee reading the newspaper in the corner. But this time there is no one. Again it feels special to be first.
I sit down - the first one arrives. Then the second, the third and finally we are six. We are poured coffee as we come and are seated.
But we hardly notice as we catch up on each other's lives - picking up on the story we started two weeks ago. We keep track of the stories - kind of - and it feels good to have this partnership - fellow journeyers along this way. I notice again as I always notice that even though life is wonderful - there is always a challenge in each story. And it is the challenge that we pay attention to - hold hands...metaphorically.
After eggs, oatmeal or whatever, we corral our thinking and begin talking about the topic we have chosen. This is not always easy - having everyone become focused on the learning.
But we need the learning - the nights are long.
“Before the first before and after the last after, there is night waiting.” ― Dejan Stojanovic