Three years ago I changed school districts which doubled my commute but also has me headed east five days a week as the sun rises above the horizon. In winter months, after the autumnal “fall back” of time change, I wake up to cold, dark mornings where I fumble around the house for coffee and breakfast not ready to greet the artificial light I could turn on. This is something I have realized I need to do to start my day off on the right foot – not turn on the lights. Letting the natural progression of light slowly fill the indoor spaces is a kinder, more gentle way to start the day.
On work days, I leave the house when the first color appears in the sky above the horizon. It is a mad dash for me to get outside of town for the best full view of the radiant color that greets me. Away from the streetlights, stoplights, and lights flickering on inside homes as the city wakes up. Out I go to the grassland where trees won’t block my view and I can see across this vast flat land called the shortgrass prairie. As I slow my pace, I take in the changing colors of the landscape before me. Pale colors morph into bold and brilliant colors, fading back into pastels that brush the grassland around me, and lie like a curtain on the continuous chain of mountains behind me.
Occasionally I will head toward small ponds or lakes in an effort to capture the color in flat or rippled water. This tests my patience as most days this effort falls short and I return to the indoors unsatisfied. However, on the occasion that I do experience the color from above and below, it’s as if magic has happened! I sit in awe of the light surrounding me – amazed that particles of dust, ice crystals, and pollution are responsible for creating THIS!
There is something about the early morning light changing from the cool shades of blue into the warm colors of yellow, oranges, and reds, and finally morphing into pinks and purples before the sky becomes its consistent and reliable blue. Experiencing this sets up my day very unlike days I don’t catch the sunrise. On a sunrise day, I feel refreshed, hopeful, energized and optimistic. I feel as if I have absorbed some of the energy put out by the light show that surrounded me, and have that energy to release back out into the world that day.