sunrise in the winter

There is a calm there, over the hill, where I believe paradise lies. There is a calm filled with the most beautiful celebration of noise. Laughter and sounds of love ring out into the clear, still air. The sky is mostly dark but light at the edges and I can’t tell if it is dusk or dawn. And I don’t really care. Because I love both just the same. Dawn with its freshness, the light bursting with new and possibility, it sparkles with everything in the world that could be. And dusk with it’s low hum that soothes and calms and quiets the bustle into low lights and slow bodies. I’ve always loved both dusk and dawn equally, always longed to capture daylight’s first moments and it’s last as often as I can. And I’ve always been drawn to both chaos and calm. Celebration and reflection. And I didn’t realize, until now, that these polar opposite loves are related. They are the same.

I didn’t realize, until now, that dusk and dawn are where my paradise lies. Where dawn brings in the day with a party of possibility, showering down a confetti of sunbeams, a dazzle for my sleep-laden eyes. And dusk soothes my soul and my day-weary muscles and plays a sweet lullaby, a soft farewell to the day as the sun dips below the horizon. And in between the two is life, where the dusk and dawn, chaos and calm, battle it out, not a fight, not violent, but a playful tug of war for each moment before it passes.

Of course, what must follow is the realization that my paradise is not a far away place. It is not there over the hill that I feel I’ve been climbing forever with still no view of the peak. It is here. It is now. Right here, this place from which I gaze at the sun and its movements across the sky, is my paradise. Because we are always living in either chaos or calm. Always edging towards dusk or dawn.

Of course, paradise is a thing that can only be seen from a distance, isn’t it? I don’t remember my love of dawn when my son cries out well before it. I don’t recognize the gift of a front row seat to the sun’s rise into the sky. No, I dread the early hour and grumble about sleep and how badly I miss my bed. And I don’t remember my love of chaos when the children are running and yelling and playing and their joyful noise feels harsh as it hits my ears. I don’t savor these moments or see them as sounds of laughter and love. I retreat to the quietest place I can find.

But in between, I remember. The quiet, pre-dawn moment feels soft in my hands as I turn it over and over as the sun arches overhead. And the chaos tastes sweet in my memory as I recall the hints of beauty spread out before me. And eventually, if I keep looking and working and climbing towards this paradise, I’ll be able to see it up close and here.


At the end of 2014, I signed up for Jena Schwartz’ self-paced writing course. I got 10 writing prompts to spend 10 minutes on each across 10 days. And I haven’t finished them all yet but this one spoke to me and what I found on the page when my ten minutes were up on this day felt like something I wanted to share. So here it is. If you’re looking for inspiration to put pen to paper this year, sign up for Jena’s course. It’s been a wonderful thing for my writing.


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