It is half past four in the morning. I sit and wait for a shuttle bus to take me to Munich airport and find myself awed by the sunrise. I admit I am unaccustomed to the quiet stillness that accompanies the appearance of the sun, more well acquainted with the almost noisy defiance of sunsets. Bright, violent colours, deep pinks and oranges as the day turns to night. This morning however, the gentle clouds are softly kissed by lavender, by delicate gold. The moon is still bright behind me, proud and full, while the sun, a vibrant blood-orange globe, with quiet and humble strength rises to take his place.
I hesitate on my camera. Desperately wanting to immortalise, this often missed moment, but aware that my iphone camera will fail to do it justice. It will never capture the stillness of this secret moment, nor the mysterious apprehension and hope I feel in the air. I want to share this glimpse at what the foolish sleepers, dreaming oblivious, are missing. I want to memorise the melody that the German morning chorus manage to belt out with remarkably delicate gusto.
Like so often, I find myself staring, trying, willing my eyes to drink it all in, my brain to acknowledge every marvellous detail. Every magical, mesmerising hue.
And I suppose now, at long last, I am beginning to understand what 'mindfulness' is really about. Maybe I am too deliberately focused on creating a memory. Too consciously attempting to fabricate a lasting impression in my mind. Too focused on remembering, on the thoughts of my future Self, that right now, I am inadvertently diluting the moment with thoughts of looking back. Seeing the world around me through a filter of the future.
Perhaps the greatest test I have yet to pass is to learn the skill of living and seeing as if I knew that by the end of the day all memories made would disappear. Perhaps if that were the case, then I would have no choice but to take pleasure in my surroundings, in the beauty of the earth right now. What happened yesterday long forgotten. What will come tomorrow unimportant.
In a way, I suppose, exploring the Alps with (mostly) both hands on the wheel has the benefit of preventing me from spending too long with my fingers on the image capture button. I am looking through my windscreen rather than through the camera lens. Whizzing past remarkable duck-shell blue rivers, splatterings of colourful wildflowers and airy gold-hued forests I am thankful for them as reminders of natural beauty, of stories from my childhood about this dreamy alpine world, unconcerned about the number of Instagram likes they may pull in.