Buying Sunlight

I have a really hard time with winter. It’s dreary and cold. There’s no green grass or green leaves or colorful flowers. Sometimes at dusk, the color of the Mississippi River and the sky and the dead grass and rocks on the riverbank all blend together as one bland palette. There’s no color and warmth in winter. You have to wear socks. Sad face.

One of the things I bought a couple of years ago to fight back against seasonal blandness is a lamp whose glow resembles the rising sun.

Sunny lamp

Every morning at 6:10 a low orange color appears next to my bed. Every couple of minutes it gets less orange and more light and bright, like the sun does when it comes up to the top of the sky. I’m not always awake when the sun starts to come up in my room, but eventually it naturally stirs me. That’s the point of the lamp – a more gentle and natural wake up. My alarm doesn’t follow for another hour.

At 6:30 on the dot, the lamp sends chirping birds into my room. They sound distant enough to not be annoying (volume setting 2 or 3), like they are playing in my neighbor’s yard in my childhood home. I particularly love the birds on Saturday and Sunday morning, when I can observe them and acknowledge it’s morning, and then drift back off to sleep. They sound so real the animals took notice the first few times they heard them, staring out the window to pinpoint their location.

Mornings are my time of peace when I think through what’s in my head and I take time to mediate or, in other words, force all that judgment and thinking away for a clearer head and heart.

I’m not a great meditator. My mind concocts awesome, irrational stories that disturb the peace. I’m working on becoming a better meditator, and now that I no longer have to take Cooper out for her morning walks, I’m going to double or triple up on my 10-minute meditation sessions on the Daily Calm app in the morning. Sometimes I’ll do yoga really early in the morning, like before the sun rises in my room.

Like the seasons passing through our lives, even the dreary ones, every change leaves space for something else. The loss of Cooper leaves my mornings with time to meditate or write on this blog.

I’m even going to learn to meditate through my meowing cat! Now that takes focus.


Photo: full sunlight on the Mississippi River in Greenville, Mississippi. I sat alone through this beautiful September sunrise while my friends slept in our tents. It was a magnificent daybreak!

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