by Melinda Gallo

Savoring Florence at sunrise

For the past month, Iíve been waking up before the sun rises. It doesnít matter how late I go to sleep, I still manage to be fully awake at around five every morning. My body and mind are rested so I just begin my daily routine. This morning, while I was writing, I was thinking about how much beauty is around me and how itís only a matter of pausing to recognize it that will fill me up with even more joy. I stood in front of my open window and peered outside listening to the long pauses of silence in between the sounds of a motorino passing by or a car navigating the uneven stoned pavement below. I smiled when I heard the 7am bells echoing all around me. When I saw how the sky was turning a pale orange, I suddenly found myself pulling on some sweats, lacing up my running shoes, and donning a baseball cap. Within a few seconds, I was out the door.

Living in Florence :: Savoring Florence at sunrise

Every day, I take the time to look outside my windows and see how Florence wakes up at sunrise. I savor the time I spend sipping sip my tea and admiring the city waking up. Standing at the window, I admire the trees with their green leaves changing color and falling off, the birds chirping as they fly by, the crisp air brushing up against me, and the sounds traffic slowly becoming louder.

This morning, I headed straight for Ponte alle Grazie. I didnít think about it beforehand, but I knew I would most likely be alone there to ponder the sunrise in peace. Based on the sunset being farther south yesterday, I had a feeling it would be same at sunrise. and that the sun was probably a bit farther south.

I leaned myself up against the low red brick wall above the Arno, facing the Porta San NiccolÚ, and watched the magic of the sunrise. I wanted to soak up as much of the sunrise as I could by breathing in the cool air, watching the colors in the sky, looking up at the birds flying both east and west, admiring the low clouds in the distance, listening to the sounds around me, and snapping a few photos.

A couple of runners passed behind me and only one man stopped to take photos a few meters away from me. At one point, a fish popped out of the water and ended up in my photo. I couldnít have planned it even if I had tried. I only knew the fish had broke the surface because I could hear it splash back into the water afterwards.

I donít know how many photos I ended up taking, but every moment was more beautiful than the next. I wanted to capture every second of the sunrise and tuck it inside my heart so the joy would expand throughout my entire body.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Evolution of a sunset

It wasnít until the sun burst out from behind the low hills just beyond San NiccolÚ and shot out bright rays of sun that I left. On my way home, I saw how the Ponte Vecchio was glowing so I rushed across Ponte alle Grazie to take a photo of it. It was almost as if the sun was showering it with love.

My new rhythm of waking up earlier has been such a gift for me. I had no idea the joy I would experience beginning my day much earlier thus allowing me to savor the day as it begins.

When I returned home, I discovered that I was only outside for a quarter of an hour. Itís surprising that in just a few minutes, I could feel so completely refreshed and revitalized. It seemed like I had been reveling in the sunrise for much longer.

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