Each January my job requires that for two weeks I leave for work before dawn, and return long after darkness enfolds the day in her arms. It's a rough schedule, and wears thin mighty quickly. But this morning as I walked to the car, the sharp waning crescent moon hung low in the barely blushing sky. I could just make out the pink-gray, snow-misty mountains, and a handful of fuzzy stars were still sprinkled across the sky. A few wormless early birds were streaking silhouettes, recognizeable only by size and shape.
The river was pale and cold as I crossed the bridge, punctuated by those frozen puffs of steam that defy gravity, hanging above the smoke stacks as if velcroed in place. But the magic that made me smile as I wearily trudged into the building was the glitter. It was as if stars had fallen into the grass overnight. The hard frost sparkled in the parking lot lights, silver against the frozen white blades of grass. If I hadn't had to be at work so early today, I'd have missed the hidden, quiet beauty of this dawn. Didn't make me happy to be at work, but profoundly grateful for the secret grace of the morning.