I've put a lot of miles on my car in the past month, many of them in the pre-dawn hours. I arrange my schedule to avoid the morning rush hour, so depending on my destination I've been leaving home between 4 and 6 am.
I'm normally an early riser, so I was already aware of the magic of the dawn. First light is my favorite time of day. What I didn't anticipate was the bliss of being the only car on the road in the wee hours.
Cruising along on a mountain pass under a blanket of stars one morning, I felt almost as if I was being carried in the hands of angels. Everything I needed was given to me at exactly the right time.
I love to listen to the radio, and when I got too far from my home stations and started scanning, I heard songs I love. My feet were cozy in my sheepskin slippers, I was in total control of the temperature of my environment, and there were tasty snacks in a cooler right beside me. The road was smooth and quiet, the skies clear. I even saw a shooting star.
And those road signs!
I wanted to hug and kiss whoever decided where to put them. They were located perfectly, clueing me in at exactly the right moment about what was ahead. Any sooner, and I could not have used the information they offered. Any later, and I might have become fearful of what I could not see beyond the illumination of my headlights.
They are something I take for granted in the light of day, those road signs. When I can see, I just look ahead and plan accordingly. But limit my vision with darkness, and those signs become my best friends. Especially the ones that map the curves ahead.
When I first started driving, I was scared to drive in the dark. I didn't want to go the speed limit at night, because I only trusted what I could see with my own eyes. So I had to go slow enough to have time to adjust to whatever entered the field of my headlights. (Don't worry, I always pulled over to allow normal drivers to pass me!)
It took me many years to trust that even though I could not see it all, I could see enough. And that with each revolution of my tires, more would be revealed. And that those folks who put up the signs knew what they were doing, and I could trust their guidance.
The life lessons of my pre-dawn driving have not been lost on me. I cannot always see what is coming up for me, but if I can remember to relax and look around instead of squinting and straining in an attempt to see too far ahead, there are signs. And if there are no signs, it means I can just continue doing what I am doing until further notice.
Some have reflectors, and some are even equipped with lights that flash to attract my attention. I will be given all that I need to know, exactly when I need to know it.
Until then, I might as well put on my slippers, grab a snack, and enjoy the journey.