The Year is Complete!

Please feel free to look back through the 365 days of 2010 sunrises, but "a year of getting up to meet the day" is officially completed. There will be no more new posts.


Thank you so much for visiting.
A one year blog project in which I share a process of transitions: emptying of the nest, reacquainting with my rusty intellect, plowing onward with my first full length book, entering the second half of my first century, and generally reflecting on life.

(see Dec. 29th, 2009 entry for further explanation)

Friday, December 31, 2010

Look. Love. Live.

UPDATE: August 2019:  To join me in my next one-year blog challenge, "My 60th year in 60,000 words," go to and look for my new blog: You'll Never Be Quite the Same.

final sunrise of 2010:  7:13

(you may contact me through the blog, or at

I did it!  YAY!!!  365 consecutive sunrise outings in 2010, and what a gorgeous sky display I had to finish off the year.  J and T offered to join me on my last sunrise excursion (and had secret plans for confetti), but I decided to let it be just another regular day, a solitary walk with my three doggie friends.

A walk under the rising glow of dawn is full of discovery.  Here are a few things I've learned from a year of getting up to meet the day:

LOOK.   Look around the world you are in.  Take note of the cycles of the natural world, the advance and retreat of life all around us, all the time.   Take note of your own part in it, no less significant than any other single living entity that is part of this massive conglomerate of biological perpetuity.   Look around at other people and other animals.   Be aware of the journeys and travails that everyone is facing all around you.  You are not alone.   Look into your own heart and soul, into the depths.  Where is your passion?   What is your path?  What nourishes the essence of you?   See what drags you down and what lifts you up, and seek the latter.

LOVE.    Love yourself.   Love the world.   Love your place in it.  Love your work and your dreams. Love the fact of existence.  Let love insert itself into every relationship you have, even the 30 seconds you spend with the checkout girl in the grocery store.   Seek love out, and where you can’t find it, try to insert a little love in.   I am talking about the truest love – generous, caring, grateful, celebratory love.  That thing which calls itself love but is really dependence, or greediness, or fear, or a power play, is only a sham of love.  Yes, love can hurt, because sometimes the noblest exercise of love is letting go, saying goodbye.   But shutting love out hurts more, for far longer.  More love equals a better world, period.

LIVE.    You CAN do it.   Don't underestimate yourself.  Sleep is overrated; you can catch up later.  Sometimes you have to hurry; the best things don't always wait.  Sometimes you have to linger; the best things aren't always the ones you're expecting.  Life is complicated and contradicts itself; don't expect otherwise, and you'll be delighted.  Adapt.  Engage. Act. Take part. Think, look, do, read, write, initiate, walk, run, travel, dance, sing, call, converse, create, caress, give, exchange, hug, care. Saturate all of your senses with the experience of this beautiful world.  When your enthusiasm flags, borrow some from a dog.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I want to thank you

sunrise:  7:12          blog time remaining:  1 sunrise

Tomorrow I'll wrap up my thoughts about a year of sunrise. Today I want to express my appreciation. To all of you who have followed along through this year, or part of it, I want to say thank you. This electronic system of communication and connections has its pitfalls, but the benefits are great as well. The reinforcement of hearing back from people all over the country and the globe is enormously encouraging. It truly kept me going during a few times when I felt hard-pressed to do so.

I wish to everyone a sunrise inspiration, now and again. Please link to the sunrise blogger, where I will carry on with occasional visits to the dawn and the blogosphere.

****I also invite sunrise submissions. ****

I hope to collect dawn photos and reflections from as many locations around the world as possible.  This new blog, I hope, will be more of a group exercise than a solo one.  Join me.


My dear husband had been up for 36 hours straight yesterday evening when he finally got home from work, ate dinner, and sat on the couch with a magazine.  He had told N and boyfriend M that he would play one of our new games with them before he went to bed, since they are leaving today.  His is an indomitable spirit, and he doesn't like to disappoint.

"I'll play, but it needs to be immediately or I'll fall asleep," he said.

About 60 seconds later we were all in the room, and J was completely out, unrousable on the couch.

Perhaps more than anyone, my hard working husband has been my undying supporter through this year of sunrise expeditions and morning writing sessions.  I think he will celebrate the disappearance of daily dawn alarms even more than I will, but he is, was, and will remain my favorite editor, cheerleader, and general provider of inspiration.

And...sorry about the barking dogs.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

sun gift at year's end

sunrise:  7:12          blog time remaining: 2 sunrises (!)

The rising of the sun is like a new birth, every day. That is the reason to witness it.  

A rebirth. 

Seeing the light.  

A new day.   

Starting over.   

The world is carrying on as it should.   

All those great reminders in one quiet event.

I haven't seen a sunrise like today's for a long time.  I almost decided they were not a winter phenomenon, but I was happily mistaken.  I hope you will indulge my overexuberance in photography today.  I am feeling somewhat wistful about saying good-bye to the dawn - at least, dawn on a daily basis.  So I will not skimp on its glories.

As a Christmas gift to my parents I created a sunrise photo calendar of Big Wolf, the Adirondack lake where I spent a couple of weeks last summer.  Then I pulled out snippets of writing from my sunrise blog posts and included them as captions.  It came out pretty nicely.

One line I found said this:  "Dawn is a good time to shed preoccupations and worry."  Today this proved particularly true.

It is pointless, I know, but I occasionally fall prone to worries about things over which I have no control.  As I lay in bed last night, I could not get rid of the image of my son flying over the Pacific Ocean.  16 hours in the air, so he's still up there somewhere, on his way from San Francisco to Hong Kong.  I tried the white light trick that I used last summer, when he was on his way to Argentina (what a year of travel he has had!).  It only helped a little bit.

When I awoke to my alarm and saw the beginnings of this rosy dawn, I hurried my stretches, rushed outside, and sprinted (as best anyone can sprint in snowshoes) out to the back yard.  For one lovely half hour, I didn't worry about my darling S thousands of feet in the air over a vast ocean.

Today's dawn was an extraordinary gift.  It almost felt like a parting gesture of encouragement.

*** update note:  just received an email - S is safely landed in Hong Kong!  What a great day.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

let them become - a love letter to my children

sunrise:  7:12          blog time remaining:  3 sunrises

Lots of drifted snow out there today - what a beautiful landscape.  We totaled something near 2 feet of new snow, so drifting cornices go significantly deeper than that.  It was a lot of hard work for dogs, and no stroll in the park for me either.   Nevertheless, it is always worth the effort.

So many of this year's blog posts have included reflections about raising children and going through life's transitions.  I have one particular piece of wisdom that it all boils down to:  Let them become.

When my first infant moved on from a 100% breast milk diet to baby food, I remember a tiny piece of me saddened by the change.  When that perfect little face was smeared with pureed green peas, it was another small loss of a former being, and those adorable first teeth meant the end of that winsome, toothless smile.  It was all the beginning of her gradual move towards separation and independence from me.  Rolling over, sitting up (sounds like a puppy!), beginning to walk, talk, leaving diapers behind, and then the big move -- off to school. 

As children grow, their parents' intimate acquaintance with every detail of their child's existence slowly diminishes.  Parents miss more and more of their children's transition points.  Children develop their own lives at a friend's house, in school, reading a book, watching a movie, meeting new adults, working with teachers.  Later, they go off for weeks to camp, or school, or travel.  All the time, they are becoming. 

When they return home, they have to negotiate the bridge between who they have become and who they were.  It is a challenging, and sometimes even heart-wrenching process of re-definition - deciding which battles for identity require insistence and which ones call for compromise. Where does the "me" end and the "child of my parents" step in?

A parent's job is to keep the doors open to each new version of their child as she or he cycles through life.  It can be terribly painful to let go of previous versions of your precious offspring, but it is as essential to their well being as food and shelter.  They still care what their parents think at every age (despite appearances), and parental support of their burgeoning selves can be an enormous boost to their confidence and strength as they forge ahead into adulthood.

In writing all of these bits of learned wisdom, I find I am compelled to offer thanks to four particular people.  It is never too soon to offer love and gratitude, but often too late, so I want to express those things out loud while they are full in my heart.

This year long blog, a planned facilitator for a year of transitions, brought me from a fully active mother life to a more passive one, from a child centered home to an empty nest.  I realized recently that my blog became something else as well - a yearlong love letter to my four children.

Somewhere along the way, my children all began to be regular readers of my blog.  That in itself is a gift for which I owe them thanks.  It has no doubt influenced my writing.  But that only skims the service of my gratitude.

From the moment of my first daughter's birth to the present day, my children have infused my life with a sense of wonder.  They have taught me so much, given me so much, helped me to grow and learn and love the world through their eyes.  I got to be a child again with them, suffer growing pains, dance in a thunderstorm, see creatures in the clouds, cry and hug with abandon, laugh with unbridled joy.  My world is constantly challenged, opened, expanded, educated, humbled, and filled with awe through my acquaintance with their evolving selves. 

A, S, N, T --- my most precious children -- thank you for the wisdom that you helped provide to your mom.  I love what you were, what you are, and what you will become.  I hope that you are all able to see, through everything I write, my love and appreciation for you shining through all of my words.

Monday, December 27, 2010

trying to photograph the wind

sunrise:  7:12          blog time remaining:  4 sunrises

It is blizzarding outside to beat the band - not so much a heap of snow (though there's plenty of it) as it is a gale-blustering windy storm.  I made a few attempts to photograph the wind, but it is a difficult thing to capture on film.  It shows itself in fleeting form, and by the time you get your camera in place, the manifestation has passed.

I'll be brief today - too many nights up until the wee hours in good company.  Mostly, though, I am focusing on finding alternative travel plans for S and A, who left with their dad in a flurry of anxious haste to reach Portland.

Both have flights scheduled today.  S is supposed to leave San Francisco for Hong Kong tomorrow, and both his bus to Boston and his flight to California were cancelled.  So J packed up the car and said he would brave the bad roads and try to get him down south, and then out west, somehow.

A is traveling back to Denver.  So far, her evening flight is on, but we'll see.

They packed extra blankets, water, and full snow gear for everyone, just in case.  It looks like the beginning of a dicey travel day, and I will be on edge until everyone has arrived safely wherever they need to go.  It could take a long time.

 (Kate's stick has taken on some extra weight)

Don't worry, people tell a mother.  Just stay calm.  I try to capture the calm and hold on to it, but the fearful imaginings fly back in and sweep me up.  Grasping those moments of serenity in the midst of an anxious time is a lot like trying to photograph the wind.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

game time

sunrise:  7:12          blog time remaining:  5 posts

We have had three very beautiful mornings for a sunrise walk.  Now it looks like there's some weather moving in.  With two kids traveling in the next two days, I am a bit uneasy, but we'll see how it goes.  I wish safe journeys to all travelers out there.

I have 24 hours left with a full house, children in every bed.  One last day to clear out the refrigerator before everything goes bad.  I whipped up a double sized pan of coffee cake and put it in the oven before posting today.  If I don't make it now, there will only be four, then three, then two left to eat it up.

The other thing we'll take advantage of today, while we still have a full complement of players, is the ability to engage in some game time.

We played two terrific games last night - Mad Gab and Ticket to Ride (Europe edition).  J strategically bought a few new games that can be played with a group, or only with 2 people, so he and I will still be able to have some fun after the kids have gone.  Ticket to Ride is from an amazing game store in Belfast, ME.  You build train routes all over the world and try to complete destination tracks.  It was so fun.

We have been big fans of Boggle, Scrabble, Spades, Bucket of Nouns, Cranium, Pictionary, Fictionary, Poker, Samurai, Quest for Camelot, Frog name a few.

Our family history of game playing has had its rocky moments.  Too many strong personalities, the usual dynamic of jockeying for control, stubbornness, and a powerful streak of competition in many of us.  Learning to play games together is a hugely useful skill, however, and in the end is incredibly fun.  Mad Gab was particularly hilarious, and works with two teams.  Hoopla is another great game that decreases competitive strife since it's the whole group against the clock.

When you are battling for world dominance, which seems to be the goal in many games, the risk of tyrannical winners and disgruntled losers seems to increase.  But that's life, isn't it?  Learning how to play the game.  You can play to win or just for fun.  You can be ruthless or easygoing.  You can win with grace or gloating, lose with humor or sulking, and then reap the results of your choice.  No one ever said playing is easy.