But I love morning in Iraq.
I know, it surprised me, too.
For those of you who know me, you know that I am the furthest possible thing from a morning person. But there is something about the mornings here. There is something about the quiet business, the peaceful noise, a symphony of sights and sounds. The beauty of it all catches me off guard each morning as I walk to the office.
Sounds of an unknown language echoing off the concrete houses.
Women cleaning in their courtyards, splashes of water joining into one stream racing down the gravel.
The song of a cart peddler calling out to housewives to buy fabric, flowers and home furnishings.
A distant whistle of a traffic officer ushering the beeps of taxis and buses hasty to begin a new day.
A man adorned in gili kurdi (tradional Kurdish dress) engaged in light-hearted conversation, running prayer beads back and forth from one hand to the other.
Fruit stands opening for a new day.
Shoe shiners perched on the steps of my office building.
Beggars pleading with sticks of gum and packets of tissues.
Brisk, cool air. Clear, blue sky.
The way light passes through the houses and reflects off the cars.
The morning song of a bird.
The sound of a breeze as it passes through a tree and rustles the leaves.
Are mornings here so different from the morning of a home I love, half a world away?
Maybe I should get up earlier in the States.
I said maybe . . .