Awake in the predawn dark.
A shot of coffee that scalds my throat,
And a last-minute dash to the nearby station,
Leaves me ready and alert for the day ahead.

The expression on the faces
Of the few passenger still fighting
To escape the black hole of sleeps allure
Are as vacant as the nearly-empty train.

We arrive still shrouded in darkness
And walk in stoic silence
Listening to the running water
Carrying minerals down from the mountain
To feed the hungry fields of rice.

While the streams flee elevation
We welcome the battle with gravity.

We begin our ascent
In tandem with the sun,
As Shiga snores through “snooze”
Celebrating the holiday in leisure.

Rays of morning twilight caress the peak
Like tenuous fingers gracing a lovers face,
Making their way down the mountain side
To welcome us with warm embrace
And gently wake the world below.

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