People ask if you're a morning person or a night person, if you prefer sunrises or sunsets. Now, I never knew about the whole "morning person" thing (the most important thing has always seemed to get the right amount of sleep, no matter how early or late you wake), but I could always answer with sunset over sunrise, if simply for the fact that I was much more likely to see a sunset than a sunrise. Even at times when I was awake for the sunrise, I would be indoors getting ready at that time rather than outside watching the sky. And if I did see the sunrise, almost I would be sad that I was up early enough to see it.
The sunrise never seemed as good as sunset, anyway. The sunrise seemed cold, a quick moment in which the sun peeks over a pale horizon to turn the sky bright blue. Sunset, on the other hand, faded from blue to a thousand shades of pink, orange, yellow, and red; sunset was a brilliant masterpiece of warmth.
And then something happened and my perspective shifted.
I can't always sleep anymore. I do sometimes need to get up earlier these days, which at first meant going to bed much earlier. But then that was too much, so I had to shift the going to bed time to a little later again. Yet still, I often wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning, feeling like it's the beginning of the day, only to glance at the clock and see that I really should try to sleep more (then usually I can, but I still have that initial early waking--which I never used to have). If I can get myself to sleep in until 7:00, that's really something. I just can't stay asleep anymore; I need to be awake.
So last week when I spent a bit of time up north, I woke up early. Really early. So I made my tea, got a blanket, and went to sit outside in the 30 degree weather and watch the sunrise. And do you know what? The sunrise is not what I thought it was. The sunrise begins much earlier than the moment that the sun appears, just as the sunset lasts much longer than simply that one moment when the sun disappears. Sunrise begins while the center of the sky is still deep blue and home to melting stars. Slowly, the deep blue begins to lighten and the stars to fade. Pink colors appear, the colors I had convinced myself only belonged to sunset. The change from a starry sky to a pink sunrise is much more drastic than the change from a daytime blue sky to a pink sunset.
Instead of being sad that I was here to witness this moment, I was excited. I was thrilled at the beauty, thrilled at the idea that only one of my hands (the hand holding my tea) was numbly frozen outside of the blanket, and thrilled that I had this quiet moment to gather.
Sunset is a reflection back, the enjoyment of what has pleased you throughout the day. Sunrise is excitement about going forward, the joy about getting ready to take your place in the day.
I want to reflect--but I also want to be a person of action. The sunset is beautiful for those cozy moments, but to rejoice in the sunrise is to rejoice in all aspects of life and to be glad that you are waking.
I can't sleep anymore because I need to be awake; does that mean, at least for now, that I'm turning into a sunrise person?