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flower and sunrise

I'm sure any high schooler reading this is well acquainted with waking up early. Pale morning pilgrimages from home to school are a hallmark of pre-college education. 

But just you wait, because once you reach college, "it's too early" forms the general opinion until the sun is well up and it is absolutely, undeniably, clock-chimingly a new day. Which means visions of comforters dance in our heads till about ten o'clock in the morning. 

This is a mindset I was very ready and willing to embrace upon returning to campus this January. For what sort of Hanover residents are we if we don't take cues from our legendary local bear and snuggle down for the winter? 

And yet… it was not until this winter that I began to wonder what our local bear might be missing. Time stands still for no bear, nor no sleepy college student, and the excitement and intricacies of life abound even in the winter. 

Winter trees

This may seem trite to any true Northeastern resident. But I assure you, it was something of a revelation to me. I imagined us huddling inside and, I don't know, rationing Vitamin D pills until April. 

For the past few days, my alarm has startled me from quiet reverie—one in which I jolt my cup of tea, scramble for my phone, and pause the morning's dose of pop music—but reverie alone, and never sleep. I've begun waking earlier and earlier, despite drawn shades and my conviction that #humanhibernation is a valid if not essential winter occupation. Almost a full hour before the first notes of Taylor Swift's latest album interrupt the silence of my room, I roll out of bed, regard the sunlight, and think, I'm late!

So ensues the half-hearted scramble which ends in the vague consternation of having traded an hour of sleep for… well, what?  

Firstly, it's important to address why early mornings beckon. The reason is obvious and wonderful: sunlight! Yes! Sunrise happens in the winter, too! I wake up every morning, look at my pseudo-suns (a pot of daffodils; in case the day is cloudy I regard them as my solar stand-ins), and open the shades. I've never once been disappointed. Mornings in all their moods on campus are beautiful, whether bright and beckoning or soft and reflective. Because at the heart of it all is light. 

Again, my apologies to any Northeasterners. I realize the sun still rises in this part of the US. I just didn't realize I would be able to see it, nor that a winter sun could be as galvanizing as the summer kind. 

I've come to regard this morning misunderstanding as a gift. The sunlight wakes us all up well before ten o'clock but well after a new day has begun. I've taken to sitting and watching, treating myself to the slowness of green tea and silence of an uninterrupted morning. It's a gift I almost never gave myself in high school and assume few of you do as well. But that's one of the best things about college—it offers ample moments for reflection. 

I guess I wouldn't exactly want to hibernate the season away. So yes, I guess this winter is growing on me. 


Cartoon - bear in winter

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