Article by Marlene Farrell. Photos by Kevin Farrell.

I wake early.  On days I’m not writing, I slip out of the house with a headlamp for a run.  On trails, if there’s time.  With a friend sometimes.

But today I’ll do my favorite road loop, starting at my house on Icicle Road, heading on East Leavenworth Road, through town and back on Icicle.  I start off in a muted world, where familiar surroundings are reduced to dim outlines.  A chill from the river settles along East Leavenworth, waking me up, expanding the space around me.  I move faster, following the long straightaways and around the sinuous bends.

House lights are mostly out; the world is in bed, except me, a dog walker with a flashlight, and deer leisurely walking across the road.  Shy acquaintances may pass—a cat, a family of raccoons, a bear.  Once a pheasant.  I maneuver around garbage cans and sprinklers that mist the asphalt next to patches of green.  A rooster clears its throat with some coo coos.

Leavenworth wa morning run

Marlene runs through downtown Leavenworth, WA in the early morning hours.

Once on Highway 2, the darkness of sleeping households is replaced by twinkling storefronts.  A few cars pass but they are just disembodied eyes zipping through the stillness.  It smells clean and fresh, even along the corridor of shops.  Anything out of place is due to thievery by raccoon or crow.

By the end of the run, my headlamp is off and the world lifts its shadowy veil, humble in the half-light.  The gravel and golden pine needles underfoot, a kid’s bicycle abandoned in a yard, a crow alighting on a lamppost—the details resolve.  I am reminded to pay attention.  There is always something new to see and consider.

The houses and trees feel close while Tumwater Mountain, Icicle Ridge and Wedge Mountain loom higher, stretching farther away, unreachable.  I feel small but not insignificant.  My place, my home is defined in quiet visuals.

The last few miles flow in steady rhythm.  I am absorbed in the perfection of a new day.  Before I return home to needs and choices, my intentions are crystallized.

There is so much to do, a day full of promise, a chance to do good for myself, for my family, for this place that is built upon all of our dreams.