Today, this morning, I am looking out my window watching the distant sun rise and thinking about my journey as I watch the building across from me and the lights slowly turn on, one after another, as people begin to wake to their own day and whatever realities they face in this new and unusual segment of life. I see people who might normally be going to work at this time settle into their new role that has been given them. I see the courtyard below empty and quiet where by now it would be active with children and dogs and people starting cars or heading back from the bakery with bags of warm delicacies. There are birds greeting the approaching sun that add a sense of normalcy to this new strangeness and give the quiet of the morning a cheerful voice. A cat watches them from his perch on the fence, undisturbed and focused.

I watch the sun break over the building before me and sipping on freshly brewed coffee I am thankful for this nearly quiet time while considering my own day ahead. Mornings have been my own time for personal meditation where I allow my thoughts to flow freely and sift through last night’s dream that lead to memories long forgotten and pushed aside. I barely move, only to sip coffee and let the memories pour through me, awakening pieces of my past that haven’t considered in a very long time, allowing them to linger for a while as they swirl about and connect to deeper thoughts that sometimes comfort and other times bring about nostalgia. Each one passing a torch to the next thought and illuminating it for a time before moving on. Expanding and contracting, filling my heart and soul.

Today, this morning, I am missing my walks with my camera, exploring the city through intuitive feelings as my lens locks onto all of the normal, ordinary, pedestrian moments that find their way into my heart. I sit in my window looking out, pausing while remembering and thinking about all of the moments I have captured through the years, some reflecting my own feelings of solitude, loneliness and estrangement and others putting me in touch with pure curiosity and a longing to hold onto this moment forever. Sometimes I believe that these moments are important because I missed something along the way in another part of my life. Today, later, I plan to revisit some of these images and remind myself of what once was. But not quite yet.

Today, this morning, my thoughts drift between now and then, considering our current situation that blends into my own lifelong thoughts and feelings of solitude and distance. Memories of summers spent reading books in such a manner that I barely noticed time pass as I traveled through space, slew dragons and solved mysteries or daydreaming through entire classes as my imagination takes me off to somewhere distant, welcoming me to the kingdom.

It’s a new day. Nothing is perfect. I think about my family and friends and extended loved ones the world over giving my silent thanks for shaping me in some way or another. My mind travels through a series of these thoughts as the sun has now risen to fill the room with light, pushing the shadows back along with the subtle doubts and fears I had from the dreams that woke me. The reverie is over and my thoughts are broken by the worry that I begin to feel as I look from the window and see the empty area below and the shades still drawn in windows and nothing actively moving in my view. I worry for everything I cannot see nor touch right now and start the process of making the day ahead a celebration of that which I can.

I can hear my building waking up and the sounds of my neighbors moving about, the cry of a child upset about not being allowed outside and the voices that follow trying to comfort her breaks the long silence. I can hear a dog and his nails scuffing the hallway stairs as he and his human make their way down towards desperate relief. I can hear a sigh of wind as a breeze moves through my open window along with a chill that prompts me to stand and close it, acknowledging the scent of spring and thoroughly disconnecting from my meditation. My cat Louis has now been woken up by the dog sounds and he lumbers along looking for pets while his sister, Luna, continues to sleep. He purrs loudly as he pushes up against my leg trying to get me to pick him up or give him food, either of which would be fine according to his reality. Routine is established.

 My coffee is gone. My cup is empty. Its time to fill it again and slay some dragons.

Mornings have been my source of inspiration since arriving in Poland eight years ago. Sunrises are beautiful, but it was the people that I encountered casting long shadows in the morning sun, going about their day, lost in whatever reverie has taken hold and reminding me of myslef as I walked into the same sun not far behind. Or the person simply enjoying a peaceful minute or two or perhaps a person crossing an empty street caught my eye. These moments spoke to me and helped me to see and cope with my own feelings of alienation, isolation and estrangement as I found the footings of trust that led the way. I learned how to appreciate my own sense of solitude and distance through the people that I photographed.