December 15 and 16 Ritual of Dawn

I’m going to keep doing these posts for the time being, maybe up until and through the winter solstice. It provides me a deadline for getting up and getting dressed in time to meet the sun, and it provides me practice in observing. Also a quiet moment to greet the day before I encounter things that make me angry. (The news, social media posts.)

December 15

A gray morning, clouded over. No color in the sky. The sunrise is a minute later than it was. 7:16 now.

We are such creatures of habit. I see the same red car as yesterday (no music this time). The same neighbor getting into his truck with his lunch cooler to head to work. The same neighborhood drop-off of kids. The same student walking to school.

The same dogs barking. The same twittery birds chasing between shrubberies on the block.

The same squirrel, but this time there are two. They are smaller squirrels, probably the young born this year, probably one of the ones that tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed to build a nest in my tree this spring, daily biting off and dropping loads of branches for me to pick up.

A change from the day before – a man walks by with his small dog on a very long leash. I hear him uttering words I can’t make out from across the street. Is he talking to his dog? Talking to himself? On a phone call?

Also, emergency vehicle sirens in the distance. Car wreck, probably. The streets are still icy. Most people driving down the street – 12 vehicles (or 13 – I lost count) – are going too fast for this iced-over, narrow residential street.

According to the light level and the time, the sun has risen. Another day has begun.

December 16

A warm winter morning. It felt mild when I stepped out to grab the newspaper. The north-south streets have gotten enough sun and warmth to clear away most of the ice, though any shaded east-west streets are still snow-packed.

The color is back in the sky – a warm orangey-red that reminds me of the port wine cheese balls that are a family food tradition at this time of year. The yellow leaks out and blue seeps in, and the sky takes on a lovely lavender tint.

The squirrels are back in the trees. One of them spots me in my seat on the porch and barks and flaps its tail.

I see the lunch-cooler neighbor head out. The dropping-off-kids person comes again, too. I wonder if they see me sitting here under my blankets with my cup of coffee and think I’m a weirdo. It almost makes me want to abandon my post. But heck, it’s my porch. I can sit out here anytime I want. And more neighborhoods could do with regular watchful eyes on the street. That’s how it used to be.

Human eyes are being replaced by cameras that the police like to knock on your door and ask about if a crime occurs in your neighborhood. When I moved to this community 11 years ago (11!), I was weirded out by a house a few blocks away that had security cameras on it. Nowadays, it seems like half the doors you might approach are spied upon by doorbell cameras.

A sudden surge of cars in the street accompanies a surge in the light level. The sun has risen. A new day has begun.

Copyright 2020 by Katie Bradshaw


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