Simple questions trigger deep realizations and happy observations. Several Facebook pages and blogs that I follow have been brimming with questions that seem easy to answer, but once you do, you’re letting the genie out of the bottle. Or opening Pandora’s box. A few of the questions I’ve seen this week:
- What’s your favorite cereal of all time? For me, Frosted Flakes. Hands down.
- Old rock stars – cool, or should they hang it up? One person mentioned her son was taking a class at college about “oldies” music – and it’s music from the 70s and 80s. I almost cried. In my mind, Elvis is oldies. Prince is not! However, Paul McCartney can keep singing as long as he has a pulse and I will be thrilled.
- Next week is Leap Day – what are you going to do with the extra 24 hours? This, courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres. I feel a separate blog post coming on…
My favorite question this week, though, came from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project.
Dawn or dusk?
Some people are not morning people, and miss the dawn. Some people work late, and come home under streetlights. Some people don’t care one way or the other, or have never thought about it.
Dawn and dusk inspired the name of my blog.
My favorite thing is being outdoors. I enjoy maintaining my garden – and other people’s gardens – and walking through the parks in our area. It’s still cold, but in the morning I take the time to watch the sky brighten and the clouds and vapor trails turn pink in the rising sun. As soon as it clears the roofs of nearby buildings, the light glitters on the frost on the fence and deck.
Last week, a pair of mourning doves began courting and sunning themselves on the deck railing in the early hours. I call them George and Gracie. One morning, they snuggled wing to wing, and from my vantage point by the back door, their heads and bodies formed a perfect heart.
Though the front of the house takes the nor’easters square in the face, the back of the house faces southwest. All year, the backyard basks in the sun. In the summer, I am up with the sun, and my coffee and I pull up a chair in the yard, facing east, and wait. Light and warmth inch over the rooftops and fence, find their way between the branches of trees, and starting with my feet, they wake me up and bring me to life.
I’m never alone at that hour. Robins, finches, and sparrows hop along the fences and sing in the trees. When the red bee balm and purple butterfly bushes bloom, hummingbirds swing by, sometimes pausing for a breather in the branches of the poplar over my head. All the birds dive for cover when the red tail hawk coasts through.
The sun’s color shifts from yellow-white to gold to peach to orange as it dips west. The sky darkens from bright blue to cobalt to purple to ink blue. The light makes the needles of the white pines shimmer as if dusted with gold.
A house on the next block has a massive, towering maple tree in its yard. Every autumn, I look at the very top of the tree, searching for a single leaf. The uppermost. The one that is first to see the sun rise and the last to see the sun set. I envy that leaf. It has a long way to fall at the end, but in the meantime, what a glorious view!
In the evening, I stand on the deck or sit in the yard and watch the sky darken and the first stars come out. Sometimes my youngest daughter will sit with me, and we’ll get stiff necks gazing into the cobalt blue overhead, and between the salmon and purple clouds, looking for the first star. We find constellations. Scorpius, with its red Antares heart, travels right past the yard all summer. When we can’t see it anymore, we know autumn is coming.
Winter sunsets happen right outside my back door. At certain times, the sun or moon settle in a nook between two distant trees, as if they are being held by the trees themselves. I could be fixated on a project or task, but the sun, before it sets, finds my eyes and my face and says:
“Over here. Look at this. You’re going to miss it.”
And for a few moments, nothing else matters.
And again, I am not alone.
In those still moments, at dawn and at dusk, even if they aren’t quiet, miracles become visible. Spirit is present and alive in simple, simple things. Earth breathes and begins again. At dawn, I give thanks for another chance and promise to do my best. At dusk, I put my burdens down and give thanks for everything good.
- between dusk and dawn (rkgaron.wordpress.com)
- Dawn & Dusk Impressions From The Backyard (wernerpriller.wordpress.com)