I look to the east, to the dark ridge of the mountains, black against the slate grey of the slowly lightening sky.
The November air is chill and crisp but the jasmine is already in flower and its heavy scent is everywhere. I fill my lungs with it, breathing as deeply and slowly as I can.
The chorus of birdsong is incredibly loud and exultant, and no human sounds intrude. If there is anyone but me awake in the world, they are someplace else, someplace far away, outside my field of awareness. These moments are mine alone, yet, being mine, I can share them with everything and everyone I am connected to.
I pull my coat tighter around me, digging my hands deep into the pockets, and walk down to the river, full and rushing after the early spring rains.
I watch as a thin line of pale gold separates the grey from the black now as the sun seems to struggle to rise. It will rain again later, but for now the clouds keep a respectful distance, and the birds sing on.
Despite its pains and injustices, despite all the things that blemish it, the world is still a beautiful place.