Approaching the Dark

I was just coming up to stand after Warrior Pose when I glanced out the window and saw the autumn sun about to rise over the eastern ridge of trees that encloses the yard below the bedroom. I took a quick shot so I’d remember it before continuing with the morning’s yoga practice.

The unique moment of an early autumn morning that can never be recreated.
The unique moment of an early autumn morning that can never be recreated.

I’m not as flexible as I’d like to be, but I’m working on it. Some mornings are easier than others, but I have to admit one of my favorite moments is Savasana when I get an excuse to lie still for a few minutes and attempt to control my breathing and slow down my brain.

With my eyes closed, I couldn’t lose the image I’d just captured. The moment was truly magical and though the angle of the sun and its light can happen again, those leaves would never be illuminated in exactly the same way, and the cloud formation in the southern sky would never reform after dissipating. I recognized the uniqueness of that minute.

Throughout the year, there is a short period of time when the sun rises during yoga, which makes those early hours even more special. In summer, the sun rises here at 5:30 with the first lights of dawn coming well before I’m ready to begin, and it’s almost 8:00 before I see the trees as more than silhouettes at Winter Solstice. These weeks on either side of the Autumnal and Vernal Equinoxes contain the gift of witnessing the day’s rebirth during my morning ritual as the sun peaks over the tops of the Douglas firs and the alders, finally casting its rays over the hazelnuts before the yard is fully lit.

The rabbits, cute when they’re playing, but nuisances when they fight for territory in the vegetable garden, scavenge for breakfast once they’ve determined it’s safe because the coyotes have gone home for the night and the raptors are making their shift change in the trees to the north. They have a few uninterrupted minutes to nibble some blackberry leaves after the owls return to their nests and before the hawk announces its presence.

Though fall is just beginning, our foliage began turning in August this year. There’s still plenty of green, but sunlight on the fading hazelnut and the reddish orange of the vine maples in their shadow shining through remind me how lucky it is for those of us who get to experience four seasons.

The vine maples with their reddish-orange hue.
The vine maples with their reddish-orange hue.

We’re approaching the dark half of the year, feared by the ancients, but the perfect opportunity for reflection and making plans for next spring and summer. Those who have lived long enough know this cycle gets faster and faster through the years, and I can’t believe the long season of “The Holidays” beginning with Halloween and ending at New Year’s Day is about to begin again. I haven’t lost the pounds from last year’s marathon of food and celebration.

I typically keep up a good pace, and I like staying several steps ahead of nagging thoughts and the bottomless cistern of emotion. However, I see the value in reflection and contemplation, and though we have about 90 days ahead of us when the nights grow increasingly longer and we’re shocked to find out that bedtime is still hours away, I’m ready to acknowledge the benefits of short days, winter precipitation, nature’s dormancy and the promise of spring that can only come after the world has had the chance to rest.

I have to admit I’m a bit tired these days, and I need to treat myself with more kindness. I’m finding this outlook helpful as we approach the upcoming election where emotions run high on each side of every issue. Regardless of the outcome, Americans reading this must not forget that we share a country though we may share few of the same opinions. Rather than marginalize those we describe as naïve, unreasonable, different or  unwilling to see what we consider the truth, we must find ways of getting along in the aftermath of what seems to have been an endless and emotionally scarring campaign. As I reflect and treat myself kindly, I hope to do better with others than it sometimes seems possible.

© 2016 by Patrick Brown

To learn more about my books, visit my author page at

3 Replies to “Approaching the Dark”

  1. lovely sentiment. Wish I could bring myself to practice it. But….on 11/8 we will see
    Miss you Patrick

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Oh, it’s a long, long time…from May to September. And, the days grow short…as we reach November…” This month’s posting seems to reflect a wise harmonizing with the seasons as they change. Lovely. Thanks so much for sharing. You’ve also inspired me to pull out my old Richard Hittleman’s Yoga:28 Day Exercise Plan. A double thanks, Paddy — and “Prosit” to You and Gary as the nights grow longer and more contemplative.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As always, it’s a joy and a pleasure reading your blog. I do envy your beautiful location. As fall is upon us the colors are mind boggling, especially in certain parts of the country. You are blessed to live in such a location. As for the election, it’s almost more than I can bare. It’s off the charts crazy and I’m ready for it to be over. Guess I’ll do some yoga and forget all about Trump & Hillary, at least for a moment!

    Liked by 1 person

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