Waking early, thinking about the day ahead, remembering that I had university hearings to go to -- seven of them, which is a lot -- I note that the sun isn't up yet. But it will be soon. There was a freeze and, in fact, at this predawn hour, there still is a freeze.
I get up to see if there are the telltale signs of a hoarfrost. There are not. Still, the sky is almost clear, with just a wisp of cloud near the horizon. It's been a while since I chased a sunrise. This morning. I'll chase it this morning.
In the past, I've done it without attention to gloves and scarves. I've learned my lesson. Rosie on a frosty morning means that you protect exposed skin or you suffer.
I'm off. I love this morning loop I make -- not much more than a half a dozen miles, but it has it all: The fields to the north and to the east…
Lake Waubesa -- where I usually stay for the moment when the sun breaks the horizon, but not this time. I take note of the water, the pink and orange wisps of cloud, the ducks (the swim quietly and then take flight, leaving behind an almost still lake)…
…and I move on. Let me witness the coming of the morning sun elsewhere for a change. Maybe from this hill? Yes, it's pretty here. And immediately very bright.
And, as if running to hide from the encroaching world, a herd of deer saunters across the road, down toward the harvested corn and the forests beyond.
This is the hour when you're likely to see reclusive animals and this is the hour when you're most moved by the sight of them.
And yet -- it's just a morning. Like any other. You get up, you eat, you work.
No. Not just like any other. There is that emerging sun... Even had I not scooted out on Rosie, I would have been able to take it in, just east of our old orchard at the farmette, right here:
And, of course, in the breakfast nook. Here:
It's such an elegant start to a cold, winter cold morning. (The less elegant aspect of it? Well, we are having issues with the water heater. Five out of seven morning showers this week were in cool water. There is a quick fix that gets the heater to deliver what it should deliver without a prod -- hot water. But, inevitably, I haven't the time. So I step into the cool shower and shiver.)
Afternoon. Work duties are behind me. I can't quite go home yet -- I have a late afternoon appointment on Madison's far west side. If I just take a two minute sidestep on the ride there, I'll find myself in Owen Woods. If I point the camera straight ahead, toward the sun, the light is so bright that the automatic settings have to work extra hard to make sense of it all. But they get it: It's surreal and gloriously radiant and my wee camera is up for it.
The day doesn't end there. I'm longing to do a yoga class and there is one, right at the close of the day, so that by the time we're done, the light is almost gone. I am outside and there's not even a pretense of brightness left. Bands of fading color, then darkness.
I have to say, it's been a challenging week. A bunch of doctor's appointments (because unlike Ed, I pay my dues and I take the time to talk to doctors whenever I have questions about why this or why that). An intense series of lectures at school. An Ed at home who, through it all, is Ed-like in all ways. And now the week is behind me and I've moved on. To the tougher season, when it's no longer quirky cool to zip around on Rosie in shorts and flip flops. When I need to watch for black frost on the roads. When the sun doesn't quite get up early enough nor set late enough.
But transitions and seasonal adjustments have this wonderful thing about them: after shaking you up a bit, they plunk you down in a new setting with its new twists but with elements of loveliness that are just as gorgeous as what you've left behind. Goodbye trailing nasturtium, lily blooms, stalks of lavender. Hello fields of autumn, trees of gold.
I almost cannot believe I'm writing this, but at least one small part of me is really looking forward to even colder days, frosted days, or, better yet, snow covered days... Yes, it's true. Or, it's true insofar as we get the water heater to be reliably working for us again. So that after a morning spin on Rosie, I can step in the shower and steam my way into a bliss of warmth again.