Up and at 'em. 7.30 in the morn. Workday looming ahead of the morning's brightening.
"Carpe diem - seize the day!" the big thought, the order, the motivation to pull on the Vivo's and get out, now.
I'll get my run in before work. I'll raise a proverbial two fingers. To routine, salary, job, adulthood. I'm living my life. You don't get all of me work.
It's a grey dawn. I'm running on virgin snow. Un-walked pavements. There's not a soul about. I'm treading on ground never trodden on before, as the snow makes it all new.
The smell of diesel engines sits heavy in the cold air. The crisp, sweet-sharp scent that reminds me of alpine villages and morning walks to bakeries, or the first ski lift of the day.
The barefoot shoes' new soles grip the snow. Unlike my old pair, worn slick, I notice I'm not skating. So less caution on the ice. Confidence increases, enjoyment levels rise, a smile breaks. This is going to be even better than than expected.
Past the empty primary school. A murder of crows in inked trees. They erupt out of the branches, their chorus of caws bouncing over the village.
I cross the road past the old Post Office, windows shuttered. But upstairs a light betrays the owner stirring, maybe enjoying the first tea of the morning.
The canal is mud brown, cold, still. Un-flowing. Ducks cluster together, waiting by boats for breakfast crusts.
The coke fire in the small black narrowboat drifts soft, warm smoke across the road. I take the scent and then it's gone again, replaced by cold, freshness.
Halfway. Check the time, blow the nose.
Heading back now. The downward slope of the small humped back bridge. "Morning!" and a wave of my hand to the dog walker with two eager terriers.
The builders have arrived at the half made house, cladding the wooden frame with bricks. One of them sat in his van, talking, joking. The other lobs a snowball through the passenger window.
More cars now. More movement and people. More folks who've got to get to work.
Through the tunnel of gnarled oaks, I pass two boys, friends of my son, hooded tight against the cold, walking to the school, chattering.
Under the bridge, past the roundabout. Twin metal swans reach for the rising sun from their sandstone plinth. Back to my road.
Passing houses, owners unknown, nearer now, passing neighbours, faces I recognise, good people.
Turn the final corner, my front door. Home again.
Inside. Warm. Blood pumping. Smile on the face.
The morning was mine!