Sunday, June 29, 2008


Yeah, it was that hot.
I woke before sunrise, a habit I developed in the Army that I've never been able or really wanted to break.

I really love the quiet morning hours, that hushed time when the sky lightens before dawn. The birds rouse and in singles or pairs or small groups stripe their black tracers across the paling sky. The night sounds, the small tics and distant clashing, are lost in the growing rush of daynoise. The world begins again, shakes itself and looks around to see if anything has changed overnight.

This morning had the flat dusty feeling you get before one of the really hot ones here, the air hard and breathless, the heat still radiating from the ground. But the morning hours were cool enough to enjoy a cup of coffee and the newspaper outside in the quiet.

*(for those of you who don't know this useful acronym, it means "Before Morning Nautical Twilight", defined here as "the time when the center of the Sun is more than 6° below the horizon but less than 12°". BMNT is the twilit time before dawn when, in the ancient Bedouin tradition, you can distinguish a white thread from a black., i.e., you can see. How 'bout that?)


You Know Where You Are With said...

Love that term. And the idea of twilight at dawn.

pluto said...

I know that time well, I've been an early riser my entire life. The only problem is that I have to wait until the rest of the world wakes up to do anything noisy. Even with that it is usually the best part of the day.

mike said...

This term was alot more important back in the old days before night vision equipment. It was known and understood by most in the military.

As I recall every battalion, every ship, or every aviation squadron had several copies of the Astronomical Almanac published by the US Naval Observatory. I think it is still available, but probably online now and available to download to your own personal GPS.

Great data there - not only for BMNT, EMNT, BENT, and EENT but also for moonrise, moonset and percent illumination. Not to mention that it also carried the stellar ephemerides needed for celestial navigation onboard ship and in long range aircraft prior to INS and GPS.

Lisa said...

Thank you for the lovely photo and a new acronym--BMNT. It is very poetic.

basilbeast said...

How do you pronounce it?

"bee mint"?


FDChief said...

basil: usually by sounding out all the letters, so: "beementee".

The equivalent after sunset is "Early Evening Nautical Twilight", EENT, pronounced "ee-eentee".

atomic mama said...

That almost makes me want to wake up early on purpose.