Hark, what light through yonder window breaks?
This morning, I woke early to meet the dawn.
The night-dim, faintly brightening sky showed promise of what was to come – a subtle golden glow at the horizon, where the broad expanse of sea is bounded by the harbour hills. On a sunny day, these hills resemble rocks encrusted with oysters and greened with sea-algae, so crowded are they with prosperous villas and their gardens. In the pre-dawn, they were silhouetted shadows – ink blots bleeding into paling water-wash and flecked with salt.
I don’t know why I decided the time was right, this morning, to forsake my bed for the chilly metal chair on the balcony, there to wait for sunrise. It may have been the sweet air blowing through my open window that lured me, with its promise of clarity and wakefulness. Or perhaps my subconscious impelled me to finally do a thing I had always intended to do eventually. There is, after all, something magic in the idea of dawn – something mythic, powerful and deeply symbolic – which I have found mind-firing. We recall the Egyptian myth of Ra’s nightly voyage to the Netherworld – as the sun rises, vanquishing the night so Ra defeats death for one more day. In fairy-tales the dawn’s appearance confounds the magic of the wicked – and of course, who can compare with the beauty and mystery of Lang’s Fairy of the Dawn?
Throughout history sunrise has represented revelations and beginnings. Today is the day I begin my blog. Perhaps that beginning was what called me from my bed. Did I subconsciously choose to watch the sunrise today because I recognised dawn’s mythic and symbolic significance to my future endeavours?
Perhaps. But it is the nature of the subconscious that its promptings cannot be discerned except in retrospect. So mazed with sleep I settled on the balcony overlooking the harbour, to wait for the Fairy of the Dawn to show herself.
It was a long wait.
Have you ever noted the interminable time it takes for sun to rise; for the burnished band at the horizon to widen and lose its blush while s...l...o...w...l...y... the violet sky becomes azure? I’ll admit it was a lesson in patience. Several times I was disturbed by the ominous spiralling of mosquitoes; tempted to quit watching and regain the comfort of my bed. But I tucked my hands and feet beneath me, and stuck it out. I wasn't bored. Rather, I took a pondering pleasure in tracing the sinuous and shining wind-patterns on the water, and musing on the tiny boats that occasionally sped across the glass-like surface. Why so early? What was their destination? My sleep-befuddled mind speculated on all sorts of possible and unlikely circumstances – a water-bound police-chase, a lovers’ assignation on a harbour island; a spy’s escape by speed-boat.
Unseen birds started a call-and-response. A riot of raucous kookaburras commenced a-yammering. The former ink-blots gradually regained their hues. To my colour-starved eye they seemed gem-like – emerald trees and pearl-white mansions.
Suddenly from the east there grew a concentrated orange glow, emanating from behind the eastern harbour hill. Rainbow lorikeets, a gleeful foursome, swooped twittering past, heading for a verdant inlet. For the first time since I got out of bed, I felt truly wakened. Excitedly, I fixed my eyes on the spreading sky-coral, spreading rapidly through the watery blue sky and making up for its delay. It brightened – brightened! – the sun-patch growing too vivid, too brilliant for mortal eyes to withstand. With the same rapidity the muted dawn sky was saturated with rich summer hue. I shut my eyes, and through my eyelids saw my blood pulse vermillion. I was suffused with light.
The new day had begun. And with what significance (I thought in retrospect). Thus dawn-bathed I sat down before my blog, and began to write.