A continuation of the journey that began on January 1, 2010, recorded in "a year of getting up to meet the day." After 365 consecutive sunrise outings in that year, I couldn't bear to give up the dawn. This blog (no longer daily) will be informed and inspired by the rising light of the morning sun.


Monday, September 26, 2011

late september rose

sunrise:  6:27

I'm hoping to find my elusive muse today.  During this last stretch of unseasonably heavy, damp weather I seem to have been sucked into an inspirational bog.  Terrible - those days which feel, come evening, that they somehow passed without your involvement.

But - this late September rose was blooming in our garden...

...and I woke up with the sun.  That's always a good place to begin.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

sunshine and tomatoes

sunrise:  6:20

It has been a month since I've posted a shot of the actual rising sun, so I thought it was high time.

Besides, I didn't think that "the dark side" was  a title that should have a long tenure on a blog about the sunrise.

I photographed the whole shebang this morning, pre-dawn through the final appearance of our bright star companion.  It took 45 minutes, all told. (*)  I am reminded once again of why I'm glad that I'm no longer doing this every day.

Then again...I'm also reminded of why I did it daily for a year.

Also, I couldn't let the harvest season pass without at least one picture of tomatoes, which fill our kitchen and yard with a vibrant overabundance.  Here's a recipe (from my mother-in-law) that helps use up tomatoes.  Try it at your next pot luck meal, and watch 'em disappear:

Sweet Tarragon Tomatoes:
(really easy!)

2lbs tomatoes (about 4 large) sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/4 cup tarragon vinegar (and add some 18 year aged balsamic if you want)

Dry mixture - combine:
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Lay half the tomatoes in a shallow dish or casserole
Sprinkle with half the dry mixture
Lay the rest of the tomatoes on top
Sprinkle with rest of dry mixture
Drizzle with vinegar

Chill for at least an hour

(*)  If you are a word buff, you may have questions about "all told," as I did.  Is it supposed to be "all tolled" ?  It is not!  I found a cool website that explained it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the dark side

sunrise:  6:19

I recently read a magnificent book, John Steinbeck's magnum opus, "East of Eden."  My measure of a great book is one that lingers in my mind for weeks, cropping up in multiple contexts because of its relevance to so many aspects of the human experience.  This was one of those.

The most intriguing idea in this story is man's struggle to be good, even when tendrils of evil threaten to twine around his heart.  Are we born with our fate, good or evil, stamped upon us by genetic pre-determination?  The hopeful conclusion of Steinbeck's book is that everyone may choose - regardless of genetic make-up or life circumstance.  But even more worthy of thought is the idea that many people...all people?...have a dark side, somewhere, with which they must contend.

Some call it the devil, some call it our animal nature, but I think it is there is all of us.  There are those who fight so mightily to mask the dark side underneath that they end up living a fraudulent double life - the Jekyll and Hyde type.  There are some (Stephen King comes to mind) who lasso it and use it to their advantage, and many others who are seek release through the vicarious actuation of evil in books, movies, video games.  Others deny it entirely and refuse to engage a thought about it, but I don't buy that outlook a bit.

I think many human fears are not actually fears of the outside world, but fears of their own lurking darker self, which they project onto others.  We would do best, I believe, to put our battles out in the open.  If we deny the existence of something, it is much harder to face, harder to fight, easier to fear.  The most triumphant characters in Steinbeck's book were those who acknowledged their flaws and failings, and continued in humility -- and gratitude for the choice -- to strive to be good.  That is the bottom line; keep on trying, believing you have the choice, and you never allow the badness to gain a foothold.

Among the many virtues of the sunrise is that it is a time that does not invite the dark side.  It is all hope and light and fresh starts.  It's a good way to dive back in and wage the battle anew.


My sister visited last week, which was wonderful.  She had never seen this late, fluffy phase of cattail life. so I thought I'd share a photo.  It seems likely that it was this phase that gave the plant its name.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

moonrise, moonset

sunrise:  6:11

Last night I watched the full moon rise out of a cloud over our neighbors' house.  A golden sliver of glow emerged and resolved into that perfect lunar globe of light - so beautiful.  I was in need of some sky beauty, having just crawled through one of those days where I felt shackled in a paralysis of apathy.   Knowing that the full moon sets in the morning, right around sunrise, I decided I would get up and say goodbye to the moon today.

Even when a glorious sunny day is in store, the Penobscot River, just to the east of our property, often creates a ribbon of fog in the morning which creeps up into bordering fields like ours.  The sunrise wasn't visible, but I got some great shots of the morning moon, sinking out of my view as it rises over someone else's eastern horizon, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

Capturing the moon on film has always been a challenge for me, but it's a labor of love.  The moon captivates me.  Sometimes the best photos of the moon (and the sun) are photos of its reflection, which proved true today.

Friday, September 9, 2011

spiders, mushrooms, dogs, and flowers

sunrise:  6:06

Now that the sun is back on the civilized side of 6am, maybe you'll see more frequent posts.  It has been a long time since I deigned to go dawn-walking on a sunless morning, but yesterday came with a cavalcade of worry.  It was a good morning to rise early, tap into the straight-forward enthusiasm of dogs, and connect with the soggy beauty of a foggy day.

I was embarrassed to discover a very large fallen tree that we hadn't yet noticed since the diminished Irene hit our area.  We were away for 9 days, but I had walked all around the property once without passing through the central glade.  We have some clearing work ahead.

The lawn spiders are back at work, dazzling me with their architectural prowess.

Mushrooms are in profusion after a couple of wet weather weeks.

Goldenrod may cause sneezes, but it can be lovely, especially when it grows next to fall's purple aster.  And more fall beauties were around - purple loosestrife, Queen Anne's lace.  And apples are in profusion.

The pond is threatened by cattails, but it is still quite serene and meditative.

And of course, Kate is intent on sticks; Clara is intent on the hunt; Guster is just plain cute.

Summery days have passed.  I only experience the first day of school vicariously now, but I think September will always feel, in some way, like the beginning of a new year.  Here we go.