Each day we wake up. Leaving a state of peace and restoration. A state of being which is believed to be perhaps the first and only state of life. You see sleep is the original state. The woken state, it’s believed, came after much evolution, as a necessity for survival. As simple life evolved to seek out energy to consume, an alert state of being was naturally selected to prevent against attack, or to improve the odds of finding nourishment, however it’s probably too early to say which came first.
But the state of being awake has it costs. It is the destructive state, where more energy is used than produced, where contact is made with dangerous elements. Stress, UV, extreme temperatures of warm and cold, poisons, and predators. All pose great risk to us when we wake up and begin to move about. So then, it can be believed that the act of waking up is one of the most courageous activities made by living creatures, as little as it may seem. It is not to be underestimated or belittled. And it’s no wonder it’s not enjoyed by most. As we open our eyes, allowing the sleepy state to wash off our minds, and choose to become vertical, to go find food, water, and contact, we are making a daily ritual that has been practiced for at least the last for the last 5 hundred million years.
New message alerts, an email thread that renews itself from hour to hour. Increasing comment counts, timestamps that are less than 3 hours old. Like the subtle but unmistakable indicators we passively–subconsciously even– observe when walking into a room where someone is sleeping, so are the indications that a team is thriving, working together, and moving towards something in harmonious rhythm. it can’t be faked, and it’s all to obvious when it’s not there. You just know.
Photo by Sam Rupsa on Unsplash
There is some kind of optimism in the air. I know it’s because the sun is rising earlier. But it will still be weeks before anyone attributes a good mood to that. Waking up to light coming up in the horizon is a symbiotic state. Perhaps lifeforms always had it this way, and that’s why it’s the best type of morning there is.
There really isn’t anything that gives hope like the sunrise. The ultimate symbol of reliability. The one thing we can count on. When nothing else is completely sure aside from death, a sunrise is the backbone of trust, faith, truth.
Photo by Andrew Small on Unsplash
In the cold part of the year people sit in the house most of the day, saving energy to stay warm. Grownups and children huddle near heaters, and seek out places with extra sources of artificial light. The darkness at this time is an overwhelming element. While most people don’t talk about it, everyone is affected by it. The sun can be gone for 2-3 weeks at a time. Which considering its importance, it’s strange this isn’t a bigger deal. Conversations about going home in the dark, and leaving for work in the dark are common. A break in the clouds during mid-day before the sunsets can feel like a spiritual moment.
While some experience the least harmful side effects in passive methods, like needing to sleep longer. Others struggle with depression. Suicide is not uncommon. Verbal contact becomes a remedy for illness, people seldom speak to each other. All become extra sensitive to stimulation.
It is a time when things are dead or dying, or becoming frail. Some creatures use it wisely, going into complete hibernation, sleeping through the coldest darkest parts as staying awake and using energy to move around is a life-threatening risk if you don’t have shelter and a source of food. With everything so brittle, there is an ever-lingering sense of fear, of being on the edge. Sometimes it’s almost like being about to cry. In other times it’s like a short circuiting electronic device, sparking and failing.