Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Beauty of the Dawn

Sometimes you wake up to an exquisite morning.

And why is it exquisite? Because you have an increased understanding and perception of everything you see. You look at everything and analyze it to find its beauty and its wonder. The sunlight striking the leaves, and the way in which the golden color of the sun and the green of the leaf mixes together, for instance, leaves you feeling happy. Or perhaps it is even the cascade of color caused by the mix of books on your bookshelf. This interplay of color and light makes you glad, glad to be human and glad to be alive. In everything there is some kind of beauty, and in that beauty, one sees God.

Just outside my window there is a fire escape. I'm longing to climb outside just so I can sit on the small balcony that affords, and look down at the city below me. To be truly picturesque one would have to adopt the Kiera Knightley pose in Atonement, the folds of her green dress falling to the ground, lapping at the cement, a cigarette held carelessly in her hand. Such a pose would be beautiful simply because it would be so unexpected, a lady standing outside on her fire escape, or perhaps swinging her legs merrily, simply waiting to greet the dawn, the morning, and therefore God. In all things there is beauty. But perhaps there is something about the playful child darting her head out the window that also works for this, or skipping impishly down the street, or otherwise clinging to the joy that is afforded us all through God and His works.

How can one not feel gratitude to God? He creates the morning and the evening, the dark and the light, the beauty inherent in everything. I would love to welcome the Shabbat somewhere green and growing, with the smell of the earth in my nostrils. I think it would be appropriate to sing Lecha Dodi and to go out to the fields to greet the Queen. A queen is a woman of the darkness and its beauty, the sweetly growing things, the hidden things, the true things. Sometimes the measure of something's worth is that it is hidden, and therefore precious.

So let us greet the dawn, and let us be glad to be alive, for in everything there is a piece and a portion of God; in ourselves, where our souls thrive, in His world, which is magnificent in its grandeur, in those around us, who are likewise striving to find Him, and in His creations, wherever it is that we encounter them. It is our privilege and honor to interact with any of these, for whatever period of time is given to us, and to thank God for having granted us that privilege, and for the time that was allotted. Man cannot conceive of anything more beautiful than the sunrise, until he experiences the sunset, and sees with what fire the sun can sink into the horizon, only to be born again the next morning.

8 comments:

Uri said...

Written beautifully as always! Glad you have such a sincere appreciation for the dawn.

An Admirer said...

Chana, your description of dawn is beautiful. It reminds me of the midrash in tehillim ch.22.In your post I see a new idea-that even in the darkness we must be thankful for the stars and the moon-for maybe even that was a gift from god just to light our paths and help us towards the dawn.

SJ said...

Beautifully expressed. I really enjoyed this post and can definitely relate.

SemGirl said...

Hi Chana, excellent post as always. I would appreciate your input on my latest post

Yakir from YU said...

Chana, I read this lovely post of yours and its content reminded me of the following:

"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep.'
~ Rumi
The most recent memorable experience I had at dawn-listening to rain drops and birds churping while in bed and breakfast in one of the London burbs this past summer.
Thanks for the post.

the French connection said...

Chana,I enjoyed reading this.Enclosed find a piece by a Russian poet Ana Elsner. Hope you like.

DAWN

Suddenly and uninvited Dawn appears

and reaches deep inside of you

piercing your outer shell

of eyelid skin and flesh cushion.

OH DAWN OF STEALTH!


Mercilessly it jolts your mind

out of its cocoon of amniotic Suspension

which transcends all laws, natural and man-made,

out of blissful Disembodiment from self,

out of Fantasy beyond description,

where that palpable state of Omnipotence resides.

OH CRUEL DAWN!


Now dreamscapes evaporate under morning sun's invasive glare,

Sleep-drunk torpor gives way to the inevitability of purpose

Synapses twitch into brain-controlled efficiency.

OH DAWN OF DUE-DILIGENCE!


When the bathroom mirror reveals a light crusty stain on your cheek,

the tracks of your tears cast a slip-shadow of remembrance,

as fleeting as the hummingbird darting away,

of that un-chartable nameless territory,

where your subconscious mind is a nightly Explorer,

pouring out and being replenished,

shedding the tears of Pain,

shedding the tears of Ecstasy.

OH DAWN, INTERCEPTOR OF DREAMS!

Aaron said...

Chana,the word is out(in the Uptown campus) that you are wtiting one of the most challenging articles of the quater.
Can't wait to read it.Good luck! From what I hear-you'll need it,but I'm not worried ,you always do well.

Anonymous said...

Chana,
See here for my favorite sun description

http://books.google.com/books?id=rmmRRNYXb7kC&pg=PA161&lpg=PA161&dq=soloveitchik+sun+atonement&source=web&ots=jd-Rpqdw5Z&sig=ouS8dFYGXtHR3ZwyzddpR-yFZ5s&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result

KT
Joel RIch