In the space between sleeping and waking, I witness the day unspool in the distance. The nighttime ways of slowness and silence remain in power, as I have yet to pull all the daytime parts of myself together. For now, the day’s requirements remain at bay, waiting for the light before they throw themselves upon me. Soon, I will glance at the list on the table, where the tasks of the day await me—as well as a few from yesterday. Soon, I will put away the bowls and spoons from last night’s meal. Soon, I will be at my desk, where the piled papers, stamps, and notebooks create a small mountain range.
The sunrise comes to me in bands of yellow-pink and ruby-blue.
In wintertime, the cold, crisp air draws sunrise on the sky with a well-sharpened pencil. I move around my house preparing the few items that will shuttle me into daytime: the blue mug with its thick handle, the ground coffee, a small pour of milk warming on the woodstove.
The sunrise comes every day of the year.
As I move around the still-cold house, I glance back to the window above my kitchen sink, which frames the unfolding day. Before the light covers the landscape, I know I still have a bit of time to be unformed, undecided, amorphous. Before the sun comes up, nothing is expected of me except the minor tendings of home: to feed the fire, feed the baby, feed myself coffee and a slice of buttered toast.
The sunrise comes to me differently every day.
Or perhaps it is only I who is different. My own orbit slightly wider, slightly tilted, or a smidgen to the left. The sun and I, we unfurl without judging each other. I stretch my arms to the sky; I fold my body in half; I breathe in and out, feeling my body’s slow uncurling.
The sunrise comes to me very slowly, then all at once.
I can feel when the coffee reaches me, and the possibilities of the day begin to stretch out ahead, like a palette of yet-unmixed colors. But I’ve never been able to discern the moment when the sunrise officially finishes: when I am no longer a witness to the unfolding, when the world has officially risen, when the sunrise has passed, when the day has officially begun.
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