I wake up before the sun rises and head out to the street. The air that envelopes me is cool, dense, and humming with the vibrations of a city awakening. This is the most peaceful time; the swarm of motorbikes has not yet taken to the street, its guttural cries not yet permeating the sounds of a night in decline.
Monks walk barefoot in their orange robes, tracing well worn routes as the sky tints pink. They stop from time to time to accept offerings of food which they return with blessings. The offerers kneel in the street, their heads bowed low as a river of chanting rains down upon them. Always when I see the monks I think there could not be people whose lives have diverged so completely, I and them, yet here we are in this Chiang Mai street, watching the morning come.
The vendors lining the street have not yet opened; their warring scents of spices do not yet fill the air. The sky is orange then yellow as a chorus of birds greets the new day. Then, in an instant, there is sun, and the city swells in recognition. The world is suddenly thrust into motion, and I stand amidst it all, my thoughts drowned out by its song.