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.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May glorious

sunrise:  4:54

A blazing close to the month of May in Maine.

From May 23rd until July 11 the sun rises at 5am or earlier.  Pretty intense time to get out there for the pre-dawn show, which begins at around 4:15.  But J and I both made it today.

Since it's been a while, I indulge today in a photo-rich display of today's evolution of dawn.

The floral decor is breathtaking - carpets of bluets and petal-strewn pathways.  Lilacs in full bloom emitting their soul-filling scent.

I startled a deer, whose fluffed tail caught my eye as she disappeared into the woods.  Mosquitos emerged from nowhere as soon as the pink glow began.  I can appreciate them only insofar as they provide breakfast for the birds and frogs, who were positively deafening in their songs of the opening day.

We felt a bit voyeuristic interrupting this pair, indicators of more harumphing frogs in our future...

This is a poet's day and a poet's time...

...also nice for dogs.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

cross-country, marathon, graduation

sunrise (on May 15th in Denver, CO):  5:46am

There is no sun to display from my last pre-dawn rising, two weeks ago, but it was the beginning of a lengthy odyssey which I will summarize today.

On May 14th I flew out to Colorado to watch A. run in her first half-marathon. 

A week before, J and I had picked up T and all of her belongings (move number one!).  Then we watched N's softball team win their conference championship, before schlepping back home. 

After marathon day in Denver, the Kaiser-Permanente Colfax race which included almost 10,000 runners, A and I packed up all of HER belongings into her car and started back across the country (move number 2!).  I am ashamed that I didn't take the opportunity to collect sunrises from Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio, but it was long journey.  Sleep was too coveted to cut short for early risings. 

 Flooded roadway near Lake Champlain...

What a beautiful time of year to see the country!  We were both pleasantly surprised by how picturesque Nebraska and Iowa were.  There is way more roll in the landscape and many more clusters of trees than we expected.  It was all lovely rolling prairie in full spring bloom. 

We crossed the swollen Mississippi, stopped in Chicago, traversed Ohio, spent a blissful spring night with family in the Adirondacks, and crossed the south end of Lake Champlain by ferry to arrive in Vermont.

There was college graduation number one.  Family arrived from three different directions.  Weather was threatening, but never thwarted any of our plans all weekend.  Hooray for N!

Then - move number 3.  We packed up N's belongings and loaded them into cars.

Sunday, we leapt back into cars to drive to Connecticut for college graduation number two.  Hooray for S!  Grandparents were game for everything, even sharing communal bathrooms in dormitory housing (thought that was certainly a stretch). 

Move number 4!  All of S's belongings were crammed into what space remained in our vehicles and car top carrier.

N and S left the next day for a 3 week trip around Europe.  Back home at last, we took a few days to recover.  And that is why I have been out of touch!

The empty nest is a bit of an illusion.  These wonderful offspring still fill our hearts and minds to overflowing, but they also, from time to time, fill every waking moment.

Life is a constant stream of graduations - from day to day, chapter to chapter, home to home, phase to phase, step by step by step.  There is so much promise out there, in all of those racing, running, driving, walking, marching, skipping, dancing people out there, scattered across this extraordinary collection of landscapes that comprise this country. 

I am full of hope.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

quality time in the real world

sunrise:  5:24

Although May opened with an exceptionally lovely day yesterday, I still built a fire, and we had a visible frost this morning.  Even now, I love the fresh chill in the air, truth be told.  Maine is the place for me.

This weekend has been another first in this new world of no children in the home.  J is away on a canoe trip, and I've been alone in the house for several days - for the first time in 17 years.  There was one other weekend since motherhood when it happened.  J took a year off while I went to school full time, and one weekend he took the four kids off on a trip while I stayed home to study. 

Pretty astonishing that I haven't been in that situation more often, but there it is.  The only time it really strikes me is at night, but the dogs are very companionable, and it has been okay. 

It is interesting in the context of an email exchange amongst our family yesterday, about technology and togetherness.  It sprang from an article:  (Quality Time - Redefined).   The debate continues about just how detrimental our perpetually plugged in society is to interpersonal relationships  Although I recognize many merits in the information stream available to us, and I even see how it aids connections between people who are far away from each other geographically, I think it is a pernicious crutch in many other ways.

First - we forget how to be alone.  Without any human presence, people tend to panic.  They turn on a TV, make a phone call, get on email or the internet.  As a result, there are parts of our brain that are lying fallow - those creative, innovative, inventive parts that find something to do with idle time. 

Second - we forget how to be together.  Yes, in many ways it can be far more peaceful to sit in companionship with one's family as each takes part in his or her personal electronic experience.  There are moments of pleasant sharing.  "Cool!  I got 1000 points!"  "Wow - look at this picture!"  But that is a watered-down version of togetherness, the effortless kind.  We figure each other out far more effectively, even if it hurts a little, by working through a conversation, or a card game, or one of those excruciating board game battles (that reveals a bit our own family style, I confess). 

Third - this is a world of trees and dirt and rocks and other animals.  If we never stub our toe on a rock, or scrape our arms climbing a tree, or get muddy on a leafy hill, or pick up a frog from a pond, or feel cold in the winter or hot and sweaty in the summer grass, or hear the long, uninterrupted orchestra of wind in trees and singing birds for a full hour -- then we have forgotten how to live in the world that we live in.  That feels like a dangerous skill to lose.

**extra note - just read the news of Bin Laden's death, and I feel obliged to make mention of it.  It is a strangely unsettling feeling to experience such a rush of...joy? relief? satisfaction?...upon hearing of someone's death.  Nevertheless, he was a living representation of the worst kind of fear and hatred.  I hope his death will mean some diminishment in those insidious poisons in the world.  I was grateful and proud of our nation's dignity when I read that his body is being treated with the respect proscribed by his religion.