from Middlemarch by George Eliot


All these are crushing questions, but whatever else remained the same, the light had changed, and you cannot find the pearIy dawn at noonday. P 186

I woke up early on Monday, at the cat’s insistence. Once he was placated with food, the dogs begged to be taken outside. I bundled up and took my bleary-eyed self out to meet the day. I was greeted with a pinkish sky, which roused me enough to realize— I could not let the moon slip away without being captured in a photograph.

Since I’ve started taking pictures, I’ve noticed how varied the light can be at different points during the day. Dawn feels like possibility and promise, a noonday sun is playful and when the sun begins to set the sky looks peaceful. There is a golden hour before it sets which is the time of the day that I adore. And I recently learned that the time before dawn is the silver hour. Yet, my favorite is the gloaming when the world takes on a dusky hue.

Here in Vermont, we are rejoicing that we’ve made it to March. We’re finally—blessedly—beyond that deathly time of year when the sun would start waning around 2 in the afternoon and the impending night was the pressing upon us. Now I come home at almost seven and the sky is still light enough to see by. Each day we make strides. And someday soon we will be at the point where we will want to stay up late. The days will be blissfully extended and we will feel the desire to soak it all in.

Light colors my memories. I still think of the way it illuminated the buildings in Venice or its presence on Martha’s Vineyard on our very own Seven Smooth Stones beach. We met a man there who told us it was easy to see why people came there to paint. They were trying to capture the day’s incandescence in their brushstrokes.

My camera looks for the light everyday. It can change a photograph, it can change my mood. Today at Nursery school I had a tour before I started teaching. On one wall they had taped up a display of palm trees with everyone’s name. Across the top of the board was an enormous sun. I wanted to bask in the watercolor glow. It reminded me of the sun I once painted that hung over T’s crib in his nursery, based off of the one that adorns the cover of Kevin Henkes’ book, Sun and Spoon. Don’t know why I felt such a strong desire to paint that for him. Perhaps I wanted us all to have a sun each and every day, no matter the state of the sky outside. 

This weekend marks the first of Spring. I am ever hopeful of the way the light will gently grace us in the coming weeks. I imagine it will get stronger and stronger, and so will I.

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