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Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday 5am

Highslide JS
Signs of Spring

Yesterday at 4am myself, and 34 others who live in my block at Broad Lane Court, were rudely awoken by the ringing of bells. Doorbells.

It was a little alarming, as our doorbells are quite loud; we can hear the neighbours' bells almost as clearly as our own. All of them were going off together. After a few moments of lying there feeling semi-consciously confused, I managed to rouse myself - someone might be in trouble, desperate for attention. I stumbled down the stairs to the main door, and was soon joined by several flatmates in similarly dazed states. The bells had stopped ringing by now.

I looked out through the glass panels of the door, but all I saw a man strolling nonchalantly out of the courtyard. He did have the gait of a drunkard - it just seemed that he'd had a sudden urge to wake lots of people up. Which he successfully did.

Things like that don't really annoy me. I tend to just put them to one side and know that I'll understand that I'll probably appreciate why it happened at some later date. As it was, I was asleep again within seconds of returning to bed, so wasn't really inconvenienced.

Thinking over this later in the day, it struck me how light it had been at 4am.

Living in a thick-walled block of flats with only a small double-glazed window out onto the world, it's only too easy to become insulated from the natural cycle of the seasons. This, I feel, is a great shame. We've lived according to the rhythm of the seasons for millions of years. It's a fundamental cycle that I'm sure affects us as it affects the animals and plants.

Thinking about this, I realised that perhaps I had something to learn from the 4am bell-ringer. And that's why I could be found in the part at 5am today, doing my exercises.

I tell you, that 7am-Sunday-in-the-park thing - you can experience it weekdays too, at 5am! It was just beautiful. So peaceful. The sun was a fair way above the horizon, its lovely golden rays reflecting off a million little mirrors created by frost-coated blades of grass. Hitting the trees that surround the football pitch it made them seem like huge huggable cushions of green (although I admit they would probably not feel like cushions if fallen on from a considerable height).

So, a big thank you to the man who rang all of our doorbells at 4am, for re-connecting me with the rhythm of the world the other side of my double glazing.

Today promises to be an exciting day. At 8.30am I'll be meeting a few staff from various university departments, and we'll be heading off to a 3-day residential event near Nottingham, the aim of which is to get an exciting new project off the ground that seeks to utilise Web 2.0 tools in the enhancement of learning and teaching. I'll not be able to stay for the whole day today as what with this being week 12 (the final week of taught lectures) I have my last ever class with Nagai sensei (sniff). There's also a little awards ceremony to attend for the photo competition.

Anyway, best get on and eat my porridge. Lots to do before the rest of the world wakes up!


p.s. for someone who is a lot more in touch with natural cycles (pun intended), check out I've mentioned this blog before. It tells the story of a couple who left the pressures of Tokyo city, to start life anew in the countryside. 

It's not just beautiful photography. I found the recent post "Lost in the countryside" very interesting. For me, it's a reminder that whilst the grass may be greener on the other side, it does require a lot of care.

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