A creature of the light

I’m a creature of the light.

Not that I don’t appreciate beautiful velvet nights, when the sequin-scattered sky stretches into a forever that humbles my finite mortal existence. All that immensity. I think if I asked God why, he’d say “just because.” Looking up at that sky, it’s a good-enough answer for me.

I miss things by not being out in the night. I’ve missed more northern lights than I’ve seen, and although I have good intentions, I usually miss those nighttime eclipses, too. I have a writer friend who prowls the nocturnal woods that surround his home, who watches the creatures who scurry about their hidden business, who uses that reflective, quiet time to cultivate the thoughts that burst into prose blooms later in the day. It’s probably a good system. Won’t work for me. Once I go to bed, I’m down for eight hours. No sporadic forays into the dark.

Daytime is when I have the most energy. Like a hibernating animal, my whole body revs up when the light slips through the bedroom window, and begins to shut down as soon as the sun sets–a problematic scenario when it’s winter and days are short. I get out of bed making a mental list of all the things I can accomplish that day. By the time the sun is setting, I’m revising what’s left of the list to what I can put off until tomorrow.

This is probably why I prefer sunrise to sunset. Stars in my eyesMy body is ready to leave the nest. It’s quiet out there like it never is at sunset. There’s no wind, no cars, no people talking on the streets, just the birds and I.

Sometimes it feels like the natural world is holding its breath at this time of morning, waiting for the sun to reappear. Seconds after it crests the horizon, nature expels that breath as a quickening breeze that riffles leaves or tiny branches and flutters across my face. Almost without exception, when I’m near the water, the geese begin to fly. Day has begun. Time to get moving.

I love the light that slips through the living room blinds, and the sounds of the crows demanding, and then relishing, the peanuts we throw out. I love watching the other birds and squirrels come flying and scampering toward the feeders, making our place a first stop for the day. Doing dishes is no chore when I can watch them dining outside.

Sometimes just the shape of a cloud, leisurely moving across the sky, sends my heart soaring with gratitude–and then I ask myself why, and don’t really know the answer. Snow lying gently on a branch, footprints of critters who came during the night, springtime tulips nodding in the breeze, the smell of freshly mown grass in the summer, sunlight glinting through color-soaked leaves in autumn, birds winging across the sky–it all fills me with a sense of well-being, and with energy.

Maybe, to me, light signifies promise. It slowly unveils, then reveals, the world as the day progresses. Possibilities seem endless. Night is simply a time to rest and regroup for the next day’s surprises.


About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog.
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