Every morning, the first thing I do is open my bedroom curtains to take a glance at the day. I rise early, usually before dawn at this time of year. When clouds obscure the horizon, all I can see is the darkness and I do not know how the day will begin. The view is not particularly inspiring… a tiny, fenced lawn gives on to flat fields bounded by hedgerows and young thorn trees. And yet, my room looks east, and whatever the day may offer, in that first moment I greet the light; a new day is beginning and the seasons are moving, slowly but inexorably in an eternal dance.
As I open the garden door for Ani, the air is fresh and cold. Those first few minutes begin to hint at what I will see. First light is a softening the sky and I can watch the silhouettes of the trees become visible against the darkness. Sometimes mist forms to hang in low veils over the fields and I watch its swirling birth. This morning I watched as the dew turned to frost and painted the garden white and saw the russet streak of a fox cross the fields.
And then the sun rose, and for a few minutes the sky was on fire; brilliant orange and black, streaked with gold. It does not last long. Once the sun rises above the hedge, the colours change and the sky shrouds its inner passion in virginal blue.
Most mornings I take the camera outside in a knowingly vain attempt to do justice to beauty. It is impossible… the lens can only capture the physical image; a tiny snapshot of a growing, ever-changing glory that is born but once and will never come again. It shows the terrestrial stasis of hedge and fence, brick and wood, but cannot capture the clarity of the air or its touch on the skin, the formation of ice crystals on every blade of grass or the vast arc of the sky that embraces the earth.
Every dawn is different. A daily miracle…a moment of breathless awe. Sometimes the sky is a pastel painting, sometimes aflame…and you can never predict what will happen. You can only wait and watch the moment unfold with the same reverence you feel in a sacred place.
It is at times like these that you feel your mortality, for every moment that passes is unique, every dancing mote of light touches you just once and, if missed, is gone forever. Yet, watching the ceaseless motion of earth and sky, weather and season, you feel your immortality too. You are part of this landscape of living light and it is part of you.
You change it by your presence… without your eyes, the morning would still be born, but it would be different. And it changes you too. Your day begins with a beauty so vast and so glorious that it lifts the heart. Whatever else may come, whatever darkness may follow, is dwarfed by its splendour and humbled by wonder.
Even when the dawn rises unseen beyond the dark clouds, still it rises. Its beauty may be hidden from view, but the light still grows to show the way. Every morning hope is reborn with the sun…and every day is a new beginning full of infinite possibilities.