Friday, October 28, 2011

chasing the rising sun

The spring and summer enthusiasm I had for catching a sunrise diminished this season. Even though the sunrise is later (today – at 7:28 a.m.), on days when I do not have to scramble out of bed for work, I find it hard to scramble out for much of anything, especially when it is still dark-ish outside.

But this morning, during the usual morning toss from one side to another, I think about the frost outside (I’d read that we’d be well below freezing overnight) and I think, too, how in a week, I’ll have to get up a whole hour earlier to catch a sunrise. And the sky looks kind of interesting. Suggestive of something good.

And so I pull on some warm sweats and set out on Rosie, chasing the sun – at the place and moment when it breaks over the horizon.

And here’s a surprise: the sunrise has moved since I last looked for it in the middle of July! It's not there, over the fields where I expected it.

I veer north a little and then look east. Ah, okay, I can see the beams of pre-sunrise light...


Closer now. There it is -- in the place where it will emerge, from behind a barn and the lake just beyond.


And here’s another (rather unfortunate) thing I discover: riding Rosie in temps that are below freezing without gloves is a bad, terribly bad idea. I cannot stand the cold against my quickly freezing knuckles, at the same time that I cannot guard against it. I pull the jacket over my hand and clutch the handlebar (which, for those who do not know – is also the “gas pedal” for the motorbike) in a clumsy fashion through the thick leather. It sort of works. Very sort of.

It becomes obvious that the sunrise can best be viewed by Lake Waubesa. It’s a mere couple of miles from the farmhouse, but when you’re riding awkwardly and with cold fingers, it seems many moons away.

Okay, bite the cold fingers, bite the cold ankles (I also neglected to throw on socks) and move forward. A harder twist on the handlebar and I’m there. And it is beautiful.


I shut of Rosie’s engine. Rest up old girl. And be still.
The ducks paddle among the ripples. A lakeside resident comes out to look. Pretty, isn’t it?


The sun rises.
Hi sun.


After a while, I turn Rosie around and brace for the ride home. The face shield is steaming from my warm breath. Up it goes. No, that’s too cold. Back down. Up. Down.

But after all, it’s the frost, hoar frost, that nudged me up and out to begin with. And it’s there, in the harvested cornfields, you can see it. I pause in one of my favorites spots – just around the corner from the farmhouse. In the early hours, there’s almost always a deer to be seen. Yes, she is there. They are there.


At the farmhouse, I stand under a hot shower for a long while.