The turning of the key in the lock. The clang and scrape of metal on steel ringing out in the dark, shattering the perfect quiet. Rusty hinges announcing the intruder, betraying the stillness of the early morning. Steady footsteps along the dock, sure footed and direct. The moon on the water, illuminating each ripple and casting blue shadows into the darkest corners. The lapping water on the salted pylons came into being and the first sounds of rocking and splashing was audible. This was the moment. Those perfect fourteen steps down the dock to the boat when the world was contained and packaged into a feeling of lightness and refreshing breath. The chill in the air stirred his lungs into reckoning and drafted around his ears. He heaved the bag onto his shoulder and pull down his wool hat. He loved the bracing feeling. This was a new day, a moment separate to all others, the favored ritual. The boat swayed menacingly under his weight but he was sure-footed. He had earned his sea legs over the years but like the rest he had paid fair dues for them. The rope was coarse and stiff in his hands and casting it off was freedom. Steady rowing from strong shoulders. The warm orange glow of lights on the hillside. Soon the world would be awake and buzzing. The hum and rhythm of daily life would come on like a light switch and break through this silence but for now there was this steady ebb and flow. Life is a constant and beyond the rush and excitement is an undercurrent of stillness that if you looked for with a trained eye you could make out in these precious moments. Letting the oars rock into their stirrups, he took out his cigarettes. The match strike, flair of flame and warmth of fire. Smoke on the water and the sun on the horizon. This was solace.