Dawn crept up while I was walking, summoning the robins from their nests and banishing the last of the morning stars. Jupiter and Venus lingered a while in the lightening salmon colored sky. Something larger and more irritated squawked from the creekside growth, but I never saw it.
A runner passed me, huffing the quick, polite "'morning" of someone with an elevated heart rate and their mind elsewhere. The breeze ruffled me a bit. The road carried the first commuters to their early shift jobs, and the corporate sprinklers were starting to wake up as I made my way back to my hotel along Omaha's fractured sidewalks.
In that first hour of the day, the city is still drowsing. The heartbeat of traffic thumps slowly. The birds still make the most noise. The air is renewed by night's slumber, breath indrawn and waiting to be exhaled as car exhaust and cooking fumes and all the odors of an urban life. Soon I will walk to work, and it will be sunny and warm and the day will be full of both busy-ness and business. For now I am perched on the morning's last cusp of peace, and my feet have that lovely, slight ache that reminds me I went out and walked up the sun.