It’s always a good day for me when I can fully take in both sunrise and sunset. Last night, I slept early both to fight off a brewing cold and in anticipation of a morning flight. Rising before dawn, I had a chance to finish packing and drink my coffee in Eastern Time Virginia before heading off to Central Time Texas for a multi-day meeting. I watched the sun rise, ushering in a lovely spring day as I completed a blog post that I didn’t have the endurance to see through to completion the previous evening.
Once safely on my plane, I dozed off during take off (my usual habit). Suddenly, I sprung awake as the plane bounced through clouds and sunlight streamed in at all angles. This was like my second awakening, although it was barely mid-morning. I realized I was having a dream that I was driving up a mountain path, so the sudden realization of being in mid-air caught me off guard. Soon, though, my senses and thoughts were aligned.
Seeing the Light at the opening of day is like that. Nighttime is our world of drifting dream, where the surreal can take on form and shape. Dreams take us to seemingly new places, or even deeply within our own psyche. There is always a brief moment before fully waking where we have to realign, to take in the day and realize who and where we are. Seeing the Light at dawn reunites our senses with these layers of thought and memory. Sometimes, we wish we could go back to the dream, admittedly. But mostly, its a hopeful alignment beckoning all the potential that the day holds.
On the flip side of this day, I was sitting in Austin at dinner in an eighteenth floor restaurant overlooking the city. My back was toward the Western horizon and I was sitting at a table of other academics, deep in conversation. The conversation I was having was with someone sitting next to me who was about to retire. I was also sitting across from a long-time colleague and mentor, someone who I had as a teacher at the very start of his own academic career. Now, colleagues across time (and cross-country), we are reconnecting at a different point in time over our ideas, experiences, and philosophies. He nodded toward me and gestured for me to turn around. There, behind me, was an amazing sunset filling the Western sky.
I don’t even feel the need to elaborate on the poetic irony of that particular combination of events.
The fact is, I have had more than my fair share of opportunities for Seeing the Light today. That light was at times the harbinger of a new day, and at others the radiant color of its culmination. The cycles of light mark our days, and the richness of night makes us appreciate the contrasts even more.
I rest tonight with these images framing my day.