One of us lives on the east coast. One of us lives on the west.

One of us lives in a rural community. One of us lives in a city.

Both of us wander. Both of us witness. Both of us write.

This is a record of what we find.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Landscape and Time-of-Day

School has started and my life is upside-down. I know it's a temporary thing, just until we all settle into our new schedule, but this year the transition from summer to school has been more dramatic than in years past. I now have three kids in school, and this addition of one extra person entering the whirlwind of getting ready in the wee hours of the morning has tipped the scale for me. I can no longer hold the home versus school lunch choice in my head anymore. I can no longer remember the deadlines for permission slips, let alone which one goes to which kid. It's lists and revised routines and prepping the night before. It's all hands on deck as soon as the alarm clock goes off.

One of the knock on effects of this new reality is that I can't go out at my usual time for a run in the morning, and so this, too, has been revised to fit into the new schedule. Instead of leaving the house at 7:15AM, I now leave at 6:15AM.

Same river. Same trail. Just one hour earlier. But it feels like a different run.

Mist is rising at a lazy speed off of the water. The sun is lower in the sky and cast different shadows into the trees and flowers, so new spots are illuminated and new spots are hidden. We surprised a juvenile bald eagle last week—and he amazed us by rising up slowly out of a tree so we could really study him as he picked up height and speed as he flew across the river. The air is colder an hour earlier in the morning. I even wore a hat yesterday. And because we are usually the first people of the day to step onto the trail, there are more sticky spider web finish lines strung across the trail for us to break through.

So the landscape is different an hour earlier in the day which, I suppose, is to be expected. But I am different too, an hour earlier, and that has been a surprising discovery. Do you know how some people get up early in the morning to write…sort of before the thinking part of the brain realizes it is awake…and the result is a more loose and creative process? The same is true for me running at 6:15 instead of 7:15. Less time passes between sleep and run. No coffee is involved. And very little, if any, talking.

This state of mind, coupled with the landscape-anew, creates a more meditative, magical run.

I urge you all, if you can, to go somewhere familiar but at a different time of day.  See what's new. Smell and hear and feel what's new.  And maybe ask one of your characters to do the same.

Happy New School Year!



  1. So many lessons here. Thanks for such a thought-provoking post.

  2. I agree! I purposely walk Luna at different times of the day because I have different shaped and colored thoughts.

    Good luck settling into the school routine!


  3. Thanks, Tam. I'm noticing a lot more shadows these days on my commute and am now wearing my fluorescent yellow vest when biking. I'm also taking my vitamin D drops. The seasons change and we change with them.