Sunrise


My favorite way to watch the sun rise

is to look away and then back again.


Change often happens slowly,

imperceptibly,

as long as I’m staring

straight at it.


I might miss the subtle shifts

from peach to blush to flame,

the way the heavy blanket of night

gently draws back,

allowing day to emerge again.


(from Within My Illusions)

 

My daughter came home from school on Thursday, eager to share an essay she was writing about her brother going off to college. She described writing about the loss she felt when her brother moved out, and also how much she grew because of it.


“In my opinion," my twelve-year old stated emphatically, "change is kinda like a package deal with living.”


"You can say that again," I laughed.


I told her my story about moving from Los Angeles to New York City just before my junior year of high school. She knew I'd moved, but not that I told my parents they were ruining my life, or that once I arrived in New York, I locked myself in my bedroom and stretched the phone cord as far as it could reach so I could sit on the floor of the closet while I cried to my friends in California. I told my daughter that I was determined to not make any new friends in New York. After all, I only had two more years of high school and then I'd move on again.


My plan didn't work so well. I did make friends, several of whom I'm still close with today (along with a few of those California friends I had cried over). Looking back on that time period, I can see the ways change catalyzed a new layer of my inner growth and development.


In my experience, the outer changes tend to be easier to recognize and name: Beginnings, endings, illnesses, recoveries, transitions of any kind. They're markers on my timeline that define the shape of my life story. But the inner changes, the ones that increasingly delineate the contours of my being, these tend to be more subtle. They might sneak up on me if I'm not looking. Or, they might be right under my nose in ways that I'm too close to notice.


On Friday, the day after my conversation with my daughter, my garage door spring broke, effectively trapping my car in the garage and me at home until someone could replace it. My neighbor tried his best to open the door manually, but it was too heavy. I told him that maybe the universe just wanted me to stay home.


After rearranging my plans, I spent the morning writing about my move to New York. As I wrote, other events came to mind and I reflected on those too. I began to discover patterns echoing through time, like threads of my essence stitching a tapestry of who I'm becoming. I noticed nuances in the memories, facets I had never seen before. I reveled in remembering the whole of me as a dynamic part of this magnificent universe of matter, relationships, and time.


There's no doubt that we're living in a world filled with change, sometimes so much that it can feel overwhelming when I think about it all at once. Even now, as I write the final lines of this post, clouds and sun are continually shifting to create a dance of shadow and light on my computer screen. Sometimes, the sun shines at an angle that obscures all the words with rainbow reflections. Moments later, a cloud filters the light and I can see clearly again. It's unpredictable and beautiful at the same time. I hear birds in the distance and imagine they are at a waypoint in their own migration.


Whatever you might be navigating, I wish you the chance to notice the hidden treasures in each sunrise, in each day.


With love,

Jennifer