Every day has light and darkness.
We use it as a metaphor for the circumstances of day-to-day life. The idea that some things will bring joy and some, sadness. The idea that we might feel those things in the course of a single day. Or even commingled like dusk or dawn.
But maybe sometimes we need to strip away the metaphor and look at the literal truth: Every day has light and darkness. Every day the sun rises and sets. And every day we move from sunrise to sunset to sunrise at the same speed as the day before.
Just about a year ago, I set an intention to start my day early enough to watch the sun come up. Most days I do this from my apartment, watching the sky brighten through the large window in my living room that faces east. But some days I take advantage of living near the beach and make the trek to a local park to watch the sun rise over the ocean.
On those days, I set out in the dark. The moon still bright in the sky. Headlights and street lights still on. When I get to the beach, the white caps of the waves stand out against the dark sky and water. But there’s also already a hint of what’s coming as I stare at the horizon.
The sky has already begun to announce the arrival of the sun. It remains dark if you look west or even north and south. But if you look east, the sky is brighter. It’s blue and a little bit yellow. The clouds are starting to turn pink; the lower ones still purple. But there’s pink and there’s gold and it’s all a reminder that the sun is coming. Because the sun always comes.
I guess if you want to be entirely scientifically accurate, the sun doesn’t come to us. It stays in one place as the earth spins. And we turn towards the sun, so that it appears over the horizon.
There’s about a half an hour between “first light” (when there’s light enough to see) and the sun being fully up. In that time, we travel 500 miles along the earth’s rotation without stirring a finger. I sit in a chair on the beach while the earth moves me farther into the light.
Right now, as the circumstances of life feel uncertain, as the metaphorical darkness seems to be growing, I find myself clinging to the firm reality of the sunrise. There is comfort in knowing the sun will be there, every morning, like it always has been. Whether there are clouds in the sky hiding its true brilliance, allowing us to only witness the growing brightness. Or it’s a clear day and we get to watch that orange disc slip up over the edge of the horizon. The sun is still there. Unwavering.
I’m finding connection in the idea that wherever we are, we are seeing the same sun. As I watch it rise and set each day, I will remember that it rises and sets on the people I care about, too. I will let it remind me that I am not alone.
I don’t know what the days and weeks to come will look like, but I do know this: the world will keep spinning. It will carry us forward into each new day with both light and darkness. And we will face it together.