Friday, January 1, 2010
Sunrise, 7:13am. Day one successful.
No sun, beautiful snowy landscape nonetheless. The only sign of wildlife I observed was a small cluster of seagulls drifting by.
With thoughts about rising to see "the first light of day," I was thinking about darkness and light this morning. We know that sunlight is connected to health and happiness (ie: vitamin D, seasonal affective disorder, etc). But a world without darkness would be oppressive in its own way. I had a profound fear of the dark when I was younger. In my struggle to combat it, I have come to feel a deep appreciation for the serenity, comfort, and rest in darkness. Due to the snow cover, last night's darkness was an especially gentle one. Long before I got out of bed, visible light filled the outdoors.
It is interesting that in this season of short days and more hours of sunless night, snow provides light from the ground up. Phases of the moon, quantity of snow, cloud cover, landscape -- all contribute to nature's varying qualities of light. The changes are subtle, like the transition between pre- and post-sunrise during my backyard outing today. I had to really think about it to realize that the sun must have risen. My awareness was dependent on things like the clock, or my camera whose automatic flash suddenly stopped engaging.
There is a lot to be gained in exposing ourselves to all of the many levels of light, dimness, and darkness in nature. So much of our existence is bathed in artificial light. The lights are always on. It dulls our sensitivities. To turn parts of ourselves back on, we need to turn out the lights.