Look up…is that the moon we see?
Can't be, looks like the sun to me!
—Ricky Nelson, 1959, "It's Late"
Late, early, or possibly a miracle, seeing the sun this morning—however briefly—has been an unexpected blessing; soothing balm for the winter weary heart. Not to mention a genuine surprise. According to the National Weather Service's latest area forecast, today is supposed to be cloudy and overcast, with snow showers this afternoon. Not exactly news, except for the possible snow part. Otherwise, dense overcast has been the norm for what seems like days on end. For suffers of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) the unrelieved gloom has made them them depressed, listless, sleepy, craving sweets and starches, and moody as rats in a box. This morning's brief shot of actual sunlight was doubtless refreshing therapy.
Sycamores upstream from the cottage,
their white trunks lit dramatically.
When the sunshine came, suddenly, just as I sat down at the desk having returned to my work room following breakfast, the light looked odd, almost spooky—a bright beam, coming from a low point on the eastern horizon and sweeping westward across the yard and river. Dramatic sidelight which lit the trunks of the sycamores leaning along the far bank upstream from the cottage. The trees' white bark absolutely glowed again the dark backdrop of sky.
The riverbank critters—feathered and furred—certainly seemed energized by the sunlight. Bird traffic at the feeders increased noticeably within moments of the sun's appearance. The Cooper's hawk executed a flashing pass-through around the cottage, temporarily scattering the early meal party, but otherwise doing no damage. I think he may have just been showing off, or perhaps gave in to a moment of devilment, hoping to frighten the breakfasting crowd—like a teenager jumping out of a closet at a roomful of kindergartners and yelling, "Boo!" Squirrels chased each other through the treetops. The Carolina wren cut loose with his merry Sweet 'tater! Sweet 'tater! Sweet 'tater! Sweet! song. The pileateds over on the island began yammering maniacally. I hustled out and made a few photos. Moon the dog took herself a little di-do run across the grass.
The first green daffodil shoots—so encouraging!
Looking around, I noticed a bit of green near the cottage wall and ambled over for a closer inspection. Oh my! The green proved to be the first tentative shoots of some of the spring bulbs I've planted all along the foundation—probably the earliest variety of daffodils. A handful of green here, another there. Several dozen plants sticking their emerald periscopes up for a precursory survey. Oh, my! Though I didn't think the few minutes of sunlight had simultaneously popped those green tendrils from their underground beds, I do know they weren't up and visible Saturday because I filled the nearby seed feeder then, and would certainly have noticed such an eye-catching reassurance of the season's progression.
On this planet, light and life are all but synonymous—at least to the majority of plants and animals along the riverbank. I don't mind a week or two of dingy gray days; but I also didn't realize how much I would enjoy even a few minutes of strong sunlight.
Ahh-h-h, sweet sunshine. Neither predicted nor expected, but welcomed by one and all.