I am going to attempt to describe something I have felt many times before but have never properly put into words. It’s a feeling, what I’m trying to describe, or more of a mood, of sorts. It’s hard to put into words, it really is: it’s like trying to explain the taste of salt to someone who has never had any before, or colours to a person born blind and in the dark. There’s something transcendent and untouchable about it. The spirit animal of this feeling would be an albatross, drifting upon the winds against an overcast sky at a beach. That, my friends, is the “feeling” of this feeling. Okay. Here goes.
It only comes during the early hours of the morning, when the sun is only just beginning to rise, and the world is cool and quiet. It’s magic, I think. It’s dewdrops and anticipation and dying stars. Everything just sort of feels mysterious and wonderful, like when you stare at a spiderweb after it rains, the raindrops glistening on its silken strands. You are alone in the world, and yet, you are not. You are with the characters inside books. You are with long-dead authors who inscribed the words of their novels at these particular times, in the wee hours of the morning. You are with everyone on this entire planet, breathing in and out, full of life, of blood and sunlight.
There is no horror at this time of the day. No nightmares. It is a quiet time, when the baby lies in the cradle and is still asleep. The world is the baby, still asleep, still dreaming, and you are its mother, watching on, full of love and silent awe at this beautiful creature. This is the time of rich, earthy soils, so dark it is like the richest, most moist chocolate cake in the world, and of the tips of noses peeking out of burrows, investigative, inquisitive. It is the time of beetles that buzz and spin like clockwork and angels hiding in cathedrals. You are standing on the ground, inside your home, but you are also floating, like a star, hanging in the middle of the tapestry of life, everything glowing in bright pinpoints. When you make wishes at this time, they will almost certainly come true.
The best place to be standing when this feeling sweeps over you is at a door that overlooks a garden or some grass, with a cup of hot chocolate in your hand and a nice, comfy cardigan wrapped around you. Because when the sun comes up, the feeling, the magic, disappears, like Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage and horses and gown. The sun comes up, and it burns everything out; or, if it ends up being overcast, gloom settles, like an overgrown blanket, over the land, and everything is thick and stuffy. What this feeling is, ultimately, is pure childhood. As a child, for you, all was wondrous and fascinating, and at this time of the day, you return to that place again, woven back into that safe, snug pocket when every bumblebee was a shooting star and even the cracks in the pavement looked up at you like smiles. Oh, it’s so difficult to describe it, so hard to put into words; if only feelings could be distilled, like water, and then given to other people to be drunk, so they could experience it as well: this feeling is a kind of otherworldly loneliness: you feel completely alone, yet the world is so beautiful, all around you, soft and sleeping, just starting to stir, that you don’t mind it at all. It is happiness, a time when you spent your hours reading books and watching cartoons and playing make-believe, too in love with life to breathe or speak. It is the feeling you had as a child about Easter eggs, those striped and spotted colourful things hidden in nooks and crannies, chocolate delights waiting to be found. The colour of this feeling is the colour of water itself, smooth and beautiful, bright and sparkling.
Treasure this feeling, if you know what I am talking about, if my attempts at putting it into words has reached you in some way, because I do believe it is the closest thing humans have to real magic, and that, my friends, is something quite special.