In Chengdu, dawn comes quietly.
The alarm goes off and the house is still dark even as I pad quietly over to the kitchen to make coffee at half past 6.
It’s not so much that the sun rises here, but that the darkness lightens.
As Chris sleepily finds a shirt and combs his hair, the dark blue of night becomes a deep, purply grey.
As we sit and drink coffee and slowly wake up for the day, the sky reaches a sort of bluish grey.
While I finish off the last of Chris’ coffee and check my email the sky finally reaches a whitish-grey shade.
That’s when you know the sun is finally up, somewhere behind the clouds of haze and smog and humidity.
I used to be a sunny morning kind of gal. I welcomed those Wisconsin summer mornings when the sun rose at 5:30am. I relished morning runs at dawn in D.C., watching the sun rise over the U.S. Capital.
I miss the sunshine here, I do. But I’m also finding there is something to like about the clouds.
No longer do I jump out of bed ready to tackle my to-do list, propelled onwards into mid-morning by the sun in a bright blue sky.
But nor do I suffer the way I thought I would.
Mornings here are gentler, quieter. They feel softer and slower.
I feel almost like it’s my secret time. A luxurious hour or so of moving slowly in that thick, velvety darkness before the day can truly begin.
If I accomplish something in those slow hours before the rest of the city wakes up, it feels like a bonus. And if not, it feels like a deeply satisfying indulgence.
Good morning China.