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.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

sunrise rainbow

sunrise: 5:07

Just when I started thinking that I had seen most of what the sunrise has to offer, something new came my way.

The timing is good.  I spent some time yesterday preparing to give a talk about my year of sunrise outings, scheduled for August.  The experience was so huge in my mind that it has been difficult for me to find my way into the story of that year of getting up to meet the day.  I suppose that year encompasses many stories and discoveries for me, and that is the problem.  The life transitions, the writing, the sky watching, the brushes with wild animals and the antics of my dogs,  the incredible beauty of the world in both miniature and grand scale, my new relationship with the outdoors and growing acquaintance with a very unique time of the astronomical day.  It's all so intricately interwoven, it's hard to untangle one coherent tale to make it an interesting 30 minute talk.

I think the heart of this talk will be the idea of finding your own inspiration to express what is inside of you.  Everyone has something to say, wisdom to share, a story to tell.  It can come out in many ways, but for me, writing is what works.  And no doubt, being outdoors as the rising glow of day spreads across the sky opens me up.  Especially when I turn around toward the west and see a glorious double rainbow spanning its arch over my home.

I don't like to think of myself as a superstitious person, but sometimes it's hard not to feel as though the world is telling you something.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

night sky: the lights from our neighbors across the way

sunrise:  4:57  (July 7th)

During a recent night on Sutton Island I was awakened by the brightness of the moon at 3:30am. I was drawn to go outdoors and look, in spite of the hour, and could already see the a faint glow beginning on the eastern horizon.

Ever since the year I spent rising before the sun, the early glow of morning light has filled me with flutters of anticipation. Most of the time I happily roll back over and back to sleep, but sometimes I give in to the urge and go out to meet the dawn. This particular night, I was so far in advance of the dawn that it was still, for all intents and purposes, the night sky that I was observing. But like many versions of our celestial covering, the night sky presents a beautiful scene – especially this one.

There were the lights of Seal Harbor across the western way, that strip of ocean between Sutton Island and Mt. Desert Island. Then there was that spectacular moon, casting shadows on the piney ground, its light reaching us from across a great span of space.

 But that span is nothing to the distance between us and those two brilliantly bright planets, stacked one over the other to the east, casting a path of light across the sea. And finally, inconceivably distant starlight reaches across light years of space to draw our eyes upward.

All of those light sources come from neighbors of sorts, if you allow for a liberal interpretation of the word. For how many years have human beings pondered the distant lights from our neighbors – in the universe, in our sky, in our own world? Since humans began, I suppose.

There will always be something mesmerizing about gazing out at distant lights in the dark night sky.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

life's full circle is around us every day

sunrise:  4:54 am

I am reflecting these days on the divergent experiences offered through contact with the natural world.

Our bird expertise is growing bit by bit, partially thanks to a very entertaining app on J's smartphone called "iBird."  Part of our motivation is to figure out who is making such a racket outside our windows every morning.  We've identified all kinds of backyard birds by song and plumage.  J also finally spotted baby ducks on our pond.  He caught them briefly just before mama duck led them into the thickest reeds for protection.

In other outdoor news, the other day J and I each came home from separate excursions with turtle in hand.  Mine was a big old painted turtle, very effectively protecting himself from me and the dogs.

J's was the tiniest snapping turtle I've ever seen.  His belly covering was only partially formed - it was hard in the center, but all around his tiny, prehistoric legs the skin was still soft and supple.  It reminded me of the fontanelle on the head of a human baby.

While watching the turtles, we also witnessed the tenacious efforts of a red squirrel, determined to get to our bird feeder.  He was fearless - about 8 feet away from us and the dogs, but seemed to know somehow that he had a manageable escape route.

That same day, J had seen a beaver, several blue herons, an adult eagle and several immature eagles while canoeing on the Souadabscook River.

The natural world is charmingly filled with promise:  new life, perpetual regeneration, protectiveness, perseverance, survival, and beauty.


We spent an afternoon hip deep in the muck of our pond recently, to do some clearing of cattails.  We both came out with leeches attached, which pretty much ruined the experience for me.  J kept at it, however, and wandered into the mother lode of leeches.  Most (but not all) were miniscule, but determined to find open wounds and feed off of him.  We removed about 40.  Seriously.

Not far from where I found the painted turtle, my little hound Guster caught and shook a baby groundhog right in front of me, before I could stop him.  I shrieked at him to stop, but I was too late.  The little critter was still moving, but devastated; I will spare you the details.  I had to end his suffering as fast as I could.  It was a task way out of my comfort zone, but the clarity of what was right outweighed my squeamishness.  Very sad.  Guster, on the other hand, was elated with triumphant pride.

The natural world is full of parasites, violence, suffering, and death.


Amongst my family and friends this last month, there has been a new pregnancy, a couple of new babies, and a new job.  There was also a tragic suicide.

The whole package is all around us every day - caring and killing, exuberance and despair, bloodsucking and enriching, sunup and sundown, birth and death.  Somehow, we have to carry on in the full acceptance of everything.  Perhaps we can learn something by observing how life's spectrum plays out all around us every day with such equanimity.