My somewhat quirky views as I gaze at the world around me!

Archive for the ‘Sunrise’ Category










Nestled on the banks of the River Boyne in County Meath, Ireland, is the complex of ancient passage tombs known as Bru na Boinne (Palace on the Boyne).  Chief among these ancient monuments is Newgrange.  Built over 5000 years ago, predating both the Great Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge, it gazes out over the lush plains of Meath as it has for ages.  Although no one knows for sure why it was built, we do know that today, the 21st of December, the day of the Winter Solstice, is ITS day!  For on this morning, as I am writing this, the rays of the rising sun (and it is rising gloriously) will pass through the sky box located above the imposing oval-shaped inscribed stone at the entrance.  Slowly, then seeming to increase in speed and splendor, the light enters the passage tomb and finally pierces the very center of the chamber.  The illumination seems to be a reminder, and a promise, that even now, on the darkest day of winter, the light is returning, as it always has, as it always will.


Copyright 2013                                              Mary Jane E Clark




Accidental Sunrise

Like virtually every sunrise I see, this one is accidental!  Not being a morning person, I see many more sunsets but happened to be up early one morning in October.  This struck me so much that I had to grab a sweater, my camera and shoes and go out into the backyard to shoot it.  Taken at Kingsfort, County Meath, Ireland.

Copyright 2012                        Mary Jane E Clark


As I’ve said before, I rarely see the sunrise but on this August morning I happened to see the predawn mist rising.  I’ve photographed this particular tree hundreds of times here in Moynalty, County Meath but have never seen the hydrangeas appear so brilliantly colored.

Click on image to enlarge.

Copyright 2012               Mary Jane E Clark


I am not an early riser.  In fact, most of my friends know that I don’t “do” mornings.  And I’ve been reflecting on that for a while and have wondered why.  That exercise led me to try to recall some morning memories.  So, here we go!

I was born and brought up in Saratoga Springs, NY, known for “Health, History and Horses”.  The Saratoga Race Course was built in 1864 and thoroughbreds have been running there every summer since.  During the meet, the city is thronged with the rich, the famous, the beautiful people.  Afternoons at the track are a huge attraction, with tens of thousands in attendance daily.  But I cherish the memory of my dad taking me, as a little girl, to the early morning workouts.  We’d lean against the white wooden rail fence in slowly brightening light and watch the mists dissipate.  Then, suddenly, the ground would begin to rumble, hooves would pound and those beautiful beasts would come thundering toward us!  No cheering crowds, just grooms, hotwalkers, jockeys and the stars of the show – the horses.

Another childhood memory also revolves around my dad.  At one time, in my early years, he had a bread route covering mainly rural parts of Saratoga and Washington counties.  A special treat  was getting up with him at 4 a.m. and making the rounds with him, sitting on the floor of the truck and listening to his stories of the area and people.  The sun would come up, the morning hours would pass and then he’d stop and take a break at the side of the road with the delivery man from the rival baking company.  My favorite part was when I was allowed to pick 1 treat from EACH truck!

Fast forward to the 1970s.  On March 13, 1970, just before 7 a.m. I had my most memorable morning moment.  After hours of tiring labor, my first child, Jeff, was born.  That memory of hearing, seeing, and holding him will always be my best morning memory. (My daughter, Keelin, was born in the afternoon, so her birth holds that title!)

I also have an incredibly clear visual memory of watching a sunrise with a woman named Susan Bradley (with whom I’ve unfortunately lost touch).  We were in the front seat of her car and the image is SO vivid!  But, I have absolutely no idea why we’d been up all night nor even what city or state we were in!

As a young wife and mother in the 80s, I’m sure I saw many dawns and sunrises but the lasting memory is of watching my little daughter walk in the dark predawn to the end of the drive to wait for the school bus.

In 1998, we were blessed to host a Turkish exchange student from Berlin, Asuman, my “Turkish daughter”.  She had decided to observe the Islamic season of Ramadan,  which lasts a month and no food is to be taken between sunrise and sunset.  We’d check the newspaper the night before for the time of sunrise and make sure we’d get up early enough for her to eat a full breakfast before the magic minute.  We spent some wonderful mornings quietly talking before the dawn.

Then, in the early 2000s, during a difficult separation and divorce, there were the mornings when the breaking of day served simply to underscore how many sleepless hours had passed since the day before. (I didn’t say all the memories were good ones.)

As the decade continued, I began to indulge my passion for travel in earnest.  That meant many early morning awakenings to catch flights, disembark cruise ships, board tour buses, ascend in a hot air balloon and try to pack the most into a day of travel.

In November 2007, I was touring Israel and one morning woke up early in my hotel in Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee.  Looking at the sun rising over the Jordanian hills on the other side of the lake and seeing the mist rise, I felt the sacredness of the place rise in my soul.

2009 brought the fulfilment of a life-long dream – my first visit to Ireland.  All during the transatlantic flight I was anticipating flying into the sunrise over the Emerald Isle and I was not disappointed.  Up each morning before dawn to prepare for another excellent adventure, I saw several sunrises.  I met the love of my life on that trip and the morning I watched the sun rise over Tralee, County Kerry, with the full moon high above it, I knew I was home.

Happily, in Ireland, the sun rises later in the fall and winter and I do catch the occasional one.  But, to be honest, I’ve turned into a night owl and often my “mornings” begin at 10 or 11……..or later.  Still, I have my morning memories and that’s what counts!

Irish Dawn


Cows at Kingsfort

Irish dawn
October Sunrise

I wake up very early, and very often, most mornings. Sometimes it’s pitch black out, or at least, as dark as it gets in Ireland.  In north County Meath, where I live, there is virtually no light pollution so the night sky is a black satin canopy shimmering with diamond chips of stars giving an almost heavenly glow.  But then, of course, the sky lightens as the hours pass.   I’ve become a bit of a prowler….to the bathroom, then a stroll to the kitchen to check out the cows in the front meadows (their white parts seem to glow in the dark!), a peek out of the guest bedroom window to look to the north and then a duck into the living room with its east and south facing windows.  And then, back to bed for, hopefully, another couple hours sleep.

Most days, the sky is gray, laden with clouds.  Occasionally there is glorious sunshine almost guaranteed, in this summer of 2011, to disappear by noon.  But one morning there was a very heavy fog.  So heavy I could barely make out the potted plants on the patio off the kitchen.  So heavy, I had difficulty seeing the stone wall protecting the guest room.  And, then, from the living room, all that was visible was a wrap of cotton candy, as if a gossamer pashmina of the most delicate of pink tints was enveloping the world.

The barely rising sun was allowing the world to be seen through rose colored glasses.  And I gave thanks.

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