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Ode to the returning light

At three, I start to turn in bed, suspended somewhere between actual sleep and wakefulness. The birds are announcing the birth of a new day, and I lie there, listening to the blackbird’s warbling, the monotone double-cheep of the resident blue tits, and I’m not sure if I am irritated or overjoyed at being woken thus. Overjoyed, I think. All that birdsong is a confirmation of life, of coming days filled with warmth and light.

At four, it is light enough for me to read in bed – should I want to. Light streams in through our uncovered windows – I refuse to curtain off the returning sun – as yet the soft light of dawn, untinged by the rising sun. Through the window I can see the chestnut just outside take form, recovering shape and colour as night wanes and day approaches. It is preparing to flower, and the future catkins stand like miniature double-toothed combs against the lightening skies.

dawnHalf an hour later, and the night fog starts to dissipate. Veils of condensed water float just metres above the glassy surface of the lake, rise off the damp ground in ethereal strands that dip and swirl.

The meadow that slopes towards the lake is dotted with dark green stands of lupines, as yet only leaves. The night has been cold, and everything glitters with frost. When an inquisitive thrush comes hoping over the grass, she leaves tracks behind – tracks that evaporate as quickly as the frost does.

There is a moment of silence, as if all the birds draw in huge gulps of breath, their eyes fixed on the eastern horizon. At 4:52, the sun clears the forest fringe. The lake looks as if dipped in gold, the birds break out in chorus, and I am overwhelmed by a desire to go outside, raise my arms to the skies and welcome this our oldest deity with a song of my own.

I don’t. Instead, I return to bed, close my eyes and smile at the warmth of the sun-beam on my uncovered leg. The sun has risen yet again. A daily miracle, if you ask me.

8 thoughts on “Ode to the returning light”

  1. Beautifully described. You wrote: “I am overwhelmed by a desire to go outside, raise my arms to the skies…” I’m English but I live in the Ethiopian Highlands. I love waking up to blue skies and the bright sun rising every morning. And, well, I DO go outside and raise my arms to greet the sun (and do a spot of yoga too)!

  2. I can’t even begin to tell how many times I found myself walking home after spending hours in the woods along the river near my home as a teen. I don’t miss much of my childhood in Norway, but these mornings, and swimming in the still river at 3am definitely makes the list.

    1. I can just imagine how cold that river would have been in the middle of the night! But you’re right, it’s a special experience to take a swim during a short, Nordic summer night.

  3. Anna – this is beautifully written and reminds me of my favorite time of night, that quite peaceful time somewhere between 5 and 7. A real treat to read.

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