One of the aspects of the job that was hardest to get into from the start was getting up at 5:30 a.m. Coming off living like a college student, complete with late nights, late movies, bar closings, and all the trappings, that was an ungodly hour of the morning, but you got used to it.
The strangeness of scheduling routes so they coincided with school openings invariably left a period of down time in the morning. The high school students had been delivered and the elementary kids were not to be delivered for a while yet. Over the few years at that job, I had anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour between routes in the morning.
The best year was one with a long lay-over just before a route that started near Lake Phalen in St. Paul. The Twin Cities are full of little lakes and most have parks around them. My route started just off one such park so during my layover, I would park the bus by the park and hang out. I'd read, play recorder, catch a nap. And I'd watch sunrises.
In the Autumn they were best. The crisp morning air would bring a mist off the lake. Geese would cruise out of that mist to the shore like miniature Viking ships ready for plunder. An old man would come by most mornings to feed the ducks and geese. They gathered around him like a medieval court. The pair of wood ducks dressed like a foreign prince and his plainer consort, the geese like gossiping nuns and the mallards like palace guards in their shiny green livery. The rising sun would tinge the mist with its light. Sometimes rosy, sometimes silvery. The glowing mist would wave and part from breezes and the sunlight would stream through onto my smiling face.
Now, even if I awake early enough, I'm headed westward to work. The sun rises behind me, and while safer for driving, I miss the sunrises.