My favorite time of the day is sunrise and dawn. The earth slowly turns out of the darkness of night and gradually there is light. At first it’s barely perceptible but gingerly the black turns to shadow. The sun nears the horizon and it’s light gets scattered above, bouncing off any clouds that are near giving them their own colors and hues. Generally, not always, the daytime winds have subsided during the night and the air is calm – as if in anticipation of the dawn. All the colors of the sunrise are reflected in the smoothness of the still lake. The loons are long gone but as the light gets brighter I can hear the ducks and geese that have not yet headed south for winter. They are gathering in larger flocks before they depart. At this point everything pauses for a suspended moment.
And then the sun rises higher in the sky throwing it’s brightness all around, the wind picks up and riffles across the lake surface, the geese and ducks take flight, the squirrels start to scurry, and our human noise of activity echos throughout the area greeting another day.
The temperature dropped down into the 30’s overnight. When I woke in the morning, the sun was trying to break through the fog and steam that was coming up off the lake. The air was quiet, without a breeze, but it was filled with the sound of birds – blue jays, robins, woodpeckers, geese, ducks, and loons. It was an early, chilly, and beautiful beginning to a sunny and warm day.
The dawn was cold and crisp. Although the temperatures have been above freezing during the day, they still dip into the teens and twenties at night. The multiple inches of snow on the lake have melted and frozen many days in a row, and what snow remains is only an inch or two deep on the lake. The sunrise was an explosion of color greeting the day, and some of those brights were reflected in a portion of snow-free ice on the lake. I am always energized after sharing in the beauty of a dawn like this.
There’s a delicious quiet that permeates dawn when the ground is covered with snow and the temperature hovers at 15 below zero. The rest of the world is slumbering and keeping warm. But the dawn awakens with a pink and orange glow on the far horizon, slowly trying to chase the waning moon from its low position in the sky. The dawn’s light gradually becomes brighter and the moon’s light fades. Sunlight is short this morning as the clouds move in after a couple of hours, followed by rising temperatures above zero and then snow blows across the landscape. The beauty and quiet of dawn seems a distant memory.
Yesterday’s cool rain cleared overnight, but left pockets of fog in some of the low-lying areas. The stars came out with the promise of sunshine today. I was up before dawn this morning and went to Lake Como. The air was still — no wind to form ripples or waves across the lake, and the fog that was expected hadn’t settled in over the water. Gradually the dawn sky was growing lighter. The canoes and kayaks that are available for rent rested in place on the dock, waiting for today’s patrons. The peace and quiet were a welcome relief from the busyness and crowds that are a short mile away converging on the Minnesota State fairgrounds.