Every Tuesday and Thursday I practice Naginata in the morning.
The original purpose of doing this was both to break up my running a bit (5 days a week is somewhat hard on my body) and to practice Naginata on a more regular basis. The practical application of this has become practicing a polearm in the dawn.
The sidewalk in front of my neighbor's house (our Oak trees still hang too low) has become the track over which I practice. Back and forth practicing cuts - the overhead takane and the side cutting tomoe and forward thrusting tsuki - in the pre-dawn darkness. I finish with kata, connecting the cuts together with movements to make one continuous flow of spinning and cutting across the gray concrete.
The splendid part of doing this early in the morning, of course, is that you get the early morning encounters: the neighbor across the street coming out for a cigarette, the commuters driving by on their way to work, Crazy Running Guy who moves off of the sidewalk onto the street as he runs past and then gets back onto the sidewalk to continue on.
I always wonder what they think as they come by and see me out there. No one has ever slowed down or stopped to look and so perhaps I am merely another fleeting wisp in the morning, the deer that is just out of sight or the cat tail disappearing behind the tire. Perhaps I am not any more worthy of attention than any other athlete out in the morning doing their athletic thing.
Which is fine, of course. I do not perform for themselves but for me, the (somewhat ungraceful) dance of the naginata done largely to the audience of oak trees and night birds and starts. If the birds and trees have comments, they carefully keep them to themselves.
The stars, of course, just silently shine on.