As a continued to climb, the beautiful purple and orange of the new dawn crept over the gorge and I was serenaded by a cacophony of guinea fowl and francolin. The gorge was alive with the new day, and I was a part of the fresh activity of the morning. I couldn't have felt happier or more grateful at that moment, simply to be alive.
Which of course got me to wondering why each day can't be that way, which of course it can. (And you don't need to ascend Alpe d'Huez on a bicycle for it to be so!)
As I carried on up the climb it occurred to me how much what I was doing right then was a mirror of my life, indeed of everyone's lives. We all go through some toil at various times, but if we can see it as a means or passage to our greater goals and work which opens up possibilities, the slog takes on more of a sacred character. In the literal sense, my ride was opening up the possibilities of reaching the top of the hill and thereafter cruising graciously and effortlessly on the flat for a while, but it was also supporting my fitness, health and longevity, preparing me for cycle events later in the year and offering the possibility of a couple of hours of peace and solitude.
In the same way, figuratively every toil in our lives offers new possibilities.
Importantly for me at that time however was also to re-connect with the idea that each new day offers new possibilities. That was the exciting piece: we don't have to be stuck in daily routine if we can see and grasp the possibilities offered by each new day.
I also reflected on the fact that, later that morning, I would be attending a memorial service for a friend who had died recently. Rippon Morford was someone who the preacher at the service later aptly described as someone who had sucked every bit out that Life had to offer. When his children described the richness, fullness and variety of Rippon's life, it really came home to me how much he had explored and engaged in all the possibilities on offer to him.
And it also came home poignantly that, eventually, we run out of new days. If we really want to explore all that Life has on offer for us, there truly is no time to lose. The invitation is to let every day be a new day, rather than just another day.