Friday, October 4


I still need to find a good sunrise watching space in this town. maybe I'll try the roof one of these days, (if I can get up there). several weeks ago, I walked downtown and watched from above the train platform as sleepy-looking Sunday morning travelers waited for their train. last week I wandered up on the bridge over the river, making my way against one-way traffic, wrapped up in a jacket and layers of soft music.

I'm starting to think everything is a matryoshka (some people say onion, but I think matryoshka dolls are prettier than onions, and right now I'm going to say they fit more nicely with my notion of a socially constructed reality), so it isn't surprising I've framed that morning as a bundle of serially enclosing sets of experiences. my little thoughts inside my little brain, housed in a sturdy skull, covered with fairly average skin and freckles--all of that--we could call it me--walked around inside the music. and all that sound, recorded into digital files and lined up in the software of my little ipod, was being fed into my ears to melt around the thoughts. beyond that thought-music hybrid of a person were the streets and sidewalks, dirt and moss and grass, the air and fuzzy predawn light all making space where I could stand and walk and breathe. even further away--standing on different ground and breathing different air, everyone and everything else, their own bodies and music, possessions and agendas went about in the middle of their own complex matryoshka. beetles, birds, and traffic. neighbors, pets,  these worldly, distant sounds from such distant, not-me things, nevertheless layered on to what made that morning what it was (and is) in my head.
{ photo courtesy friend Mel }

this photo is most unconnected to the above description, though it does include a snippet of a sunrise. friend Melanie took it months and months ago on a late summer morning. there are ponies just south of what was then our new neighborhood. on whichever morning this happened to be, we noticed this mother and foal shyly watching us jog through the dirt alley. newborn day. newborn pony.

having a record of that morning and these ponies and the light coming up so bright behind them somehow seems to loop time in on itself. I can't really reach backwards toward that summer, that neighborhood, the jogging or anything else. the photo isn't the moment. the moment is not there in that photo. my access to the moment is mediated much more from here. I have to reach back through a this screen to a photograph to a memory of a thousand-miles-away space and a thousand-hours-away time.

during my more recent but at the moment no less inaccessible experience walking around a new neighborhood at dawn, I looked through all my layers of self, sort-of-self, and non-self, trying to notice and soak in all the things I love about sunrises. do you remember? do I remember?

the waiting, pacing, wondering where the horizon will break open against the sharp light.

feeling a shift from stillness to rustling as the colors in the sky brighten, fade, and smooth into regular daytime blue.

letting the whole world pull itself out of the monochrome blandness of predawn grey and into a gradually more and more detailed light.

seeing your own shadow come loose from the shadow of the earth.

then, turning back, watching the shadows of everything snip themselves separate and scurry into the spaces west. I once wrote about reverse sunsets. if I ever have a nice west-facing office I'll do my best to take good notes on reverse sunrises.

"reverse," I expect, is a very wrong word for what I mean. maybe "mirrored" or something would be better. the earth and the sun and astrophysics and entropy make sunrises and sunsets both into irrevocably one-way affairs. do the sun and the earth get bored of this arrangement, I wonder? I can turn around to watch east and west, and north and south, too--but our lovely sun cannot. the earth spins the same way, steadily around and around, never backwards and only a tiny bit tilted.

we can turn around, walk across the street, go back the other direction, and watch all the shadows changing.
but when it comes to the fourth dimension, I'm just as stuck as the sun and earth on a one-way track. there is no reaching back to yesterday or last week. every newborn day has to keep going, sweeping the rest of us along with it toward another sunset.

sunsets are very nice too, of course. often even more visually striking--more dramatic somehow.

I prefer sunrises. they speak of more hope and more potential. more beginning.

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