Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘sunrise


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In Toronto, there was never anything special about the rising and setting of the sun. Where I lived made it difficult to witness either. And at that time in life it wasn’t important.

To catch the rising sun I had to walk to the corner of Avenue Road and Woburn. In summer, if I wasn’t driving. I would catch the odd glimpse of it over the trees. But I never lingered to catch the full rising because I had to catch a bus. I missed sunrise in winter because I was always at the gym by 7:00 A.M.

It was different with sunsets. Two of the towers I worked in gave me great views, one over the lake and the Gardner Expressway, the other over the low-rise buildings of old downtown. Again, though, I never took the time to savor those sunsets, because I was either working late or simply rushing home to put as much distance between me and the day’s problems as quickly as I could.

That was then. This is now. Where I’m living now gives the rising and setting of the sun a wonderful new perspective.

Come morning the sun pours into the front of our home with glorious light. We’ve hung small prisms in the front windows. When sunlight hits them tiny rainbow spectrums move across our walls in beautifully bright red, green, blue, indigo and violet patches. The trees behind the house catch this morning light and shine like blazing gold in the fall and candy apple red in the spring and summer.

Come evening the sun sends its setting light into our kitchen. Sometimes it is so bright we are forced, reluctantly, to adjust the blinds. A flood of colour paints the evening sky. The canvas changes each night depending on cloud formations. And as the seasons change we watch the sun’s transit from one corner of the house to the other.

While the sky behind us is variegated with light, tree tops out front brighten with the fading sun so no matter where you are in the house you can’t miss the playful tints of the sun’s last light.

Now that we have nothing but time we look forward to the sun’s day-long path over our home.

We bought this house on a gray cloud filled November day. At the time I was filled with fear and trepidation at the enormity of what we were doing…leaving the big city for a house on the outskirts of a small town on the shores of Lake Huron, and a three hour drive from Toronto.

What I didn’t realize then was that our house sits in the middle of the rising and setting of the sun. And the light of sunrise and sunset has burned all our misgivings away.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

November 19, 2010 at 3:49 PM


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images3 Now that the days are longer, now that spring  has announced its intentions, the crows are  happier. They like the tree line above the  riverbank, which puts them right in my  backyard. It’s their starting point, their meeting place. They wake us in the morning and serenade us after dinner. They congregate at first light and before sunset, their gathering telegraphed by their cawing chorus calling every crow within earshot to join the clan.

Dark clusters of crows swirl overhead in perfect arcs diving for the trees with a cacophony of calls. They light momentarily, then with unsettled haste, fly off again, the beating of hundreds of wings sounding like the winter wind that ushers in a snow squall. Flock after flock, like a reverse of stars in a black night, black dots against a terra cotta evening sky, follow an invisible flight path that takes them from treetop to treetop, again and again. There is agitation in their flight, an aerial helter skelter, with seemingly no point, no plan and no apparent purpose. Just a lot of noise and a lot of energy wasted going absolutely nowhere. Stragglers struggle to catch up with the main crowd. And when they do, they dive and tumble, somersaulting in mid air as if celebrating their acceptance by the others.

Sometimes interlopers appear. Uninvited bands of crows flying in from all directions intent on intruding on territory already claimed. This is when the sky blackens as all flocks merge into a monotone mélange of movement. There is no telling who is who… who is welcome or who is being told to go. That’s when they land in the treetops to settle the battle by squawking loudly at each other until somebody leaves. Is it the winner or the loser? Hard to tell with crows.

And what does it matter? Tomorrow they will repeat the pattern, obviously never tiring of the routine. Crows know how to have fun.




Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

March 19, 2009 at 9:00 PM


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Slowly – at trolling speed – a solitary fisherman guides his boat under the Albert Street Bridge and turns into the shadows along the shore of the Saugeen hardly leaving a wake. The sun is burning its way through the trees casting a trail of sparkling diamonds on the water.

High in the blue western sky the waning moon is still visible. Yesterday evening, in its fullness, this harvest moon lit up the night with an eerie silver light. But, it’s done now.

There’s a chill in the morning air. Frost sits on roof tops and covers lawns with a white tint. Mist rises over the river’s surface. The vivid fall colours are close to over. Some trees are already bare. A cold wind stripped them the other day. Now they lay in haphazard piles on the lawns, in the fields on sidewalks and roads, their colours dying. They decay into dust or mush depending on the heaviness of the morning dew. Walking though them creates a rustle that makes you smile.

Sunsets are earlier. Sunrise is later. Snow fences are going up along the beach. Summer people are boarding up their homes and cottages. Summer is long gone. 

Southampton is known for its sunsets. Tourists gather all summer long at the big flag on the shore of the lake to watch and listen as the Piper provides background music for the sun’s setting. Our sunrises, on the other hand, are seldom celebrated. And what a shame.

The best place to watch the rising sun is from the bridge. It gives you a long view down the Saugeen. So you can watch the big golden ball climbing up over the horizon and throwing its light down on the river bringing a completely different brand of beauty.

The river is a good indicator of the change. There are fewer boats on shore. Most of the docks are in. Only one or two still remain. Ducks and Cormorants are heading south. Some of the summer residents have done so as well. Highberry Farms’ migrant workers will be heading home to the warmth of Mexico in a few days. Southampton is quite. All the signs are there. We are relentlessly moving towards winter.

As the sun rises over the river and the trees reflect themselves on the surface it is hard to imagine the freeze that’s coming. How thick will the ice be?  Will the town people gather on the harbour shore – day after day – waiting and watching for the ice out – as they did two winters ago?

These are questions for the coming cold. For now, the Saugeen basks in the morning sun…waiting.



Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

October 18, 2008 at 10:45 PM