This morning, at sunrise, I was standing under a large maple tree - the same thing I did roughly 6 months ago at the spring equinox. Unlike that morning, I was not able to watch the sun rise - too cloudy. What I did notice was the striking difference between the two mornings.
On that morning back in March I woke up around 6:30AM. I brought my ritual items out to the backyard, and decided that under the maple tree would make a perfect spot. Some 30 minutes later I was seeing the first sunrise of the light half of the year coming up over the treeline.
It was a cold morning, cold enough to see my breath on the air. I was wearing my heavy winter jacket (and wishing I brought some gloves out), there was a good amount of frost on the ground, and piles of snow in some places. The branches were bare, and the ground still frozen solid and covered in patches of dead grass. It was also fairly silent.
I don't usually wake at sunrise on Mabon, but I was wondering how different the dawn would be on the other equinox. I had to head out earlier, and could watch as it got a bit lighter and lighter out even though the sun was well hidden. It was warm, I was comfortable in a light long sleeve shirt. It was also loud - bugs and birds making all sorts of noises. The grass was long and green, and the trees had all their leaves, even if some were beginning to turn.
Looking back on the past six months, on one hand I've really missed some of the (informal) goals I'd been setting for myself. I have not accomplished as much as I feel I should, as much as I wanted. On the other hand? I really have accomplished a lot when I sit back and think on it. I have learned many new things, I have joined new communities and met new friends, heck I even cleaned out and revamped this dusty old blog. There are things I have to work harder on, but there's been a lot done.
Two very different dawns, yet both days are made up of equal day and night. (Well, close to it anyway. Both had 12 hours and 8 minutes of light here in NH, since we are of course not right on the equator.) The first and last sunrise of the light half of the year. With sunset today I mark the start of the dark half of the year. The days will soon be shorter than the nights, the weather will become cooler, plants will die back. I'm thankful for the abundance the summer months bring, but I also look forward to what's coming.