Our backyard and master bedroom windows face due east. Tall mature trees dot the properties backing up to our own in a natural organic rhythm, without thought to fancy landscaping or the careful design of a neighborhood council. As the seasons change, so do the patterns of light that stream through those trees into our backyard after sunrise. During the summer months, glaring bright sunshine invades our mornings at an early hour, rousing us from our sleep after we've kicked off all the covers and we're too warm to comfortably lay in bed. By the time we've had our coffee, not a speck of shade can be found out back, and sunglasses are necessary for sandbox play. As the summer fades to fall and the dark minutes of the early mornings stretch longer and longer with each passing day, the sun shifts too, slightly to the south, fractions of a degree each week. By mid October it's still dark at 7am, an omen of winter days looming on the horizon. But then like a little consolation prize, daylight savings arrives giving us just one last push of early morning brightness before the sun starts its real and more rapid departure for the southern hemisphere.
The days following that last little glimmering gift of a few more early morning sunrises, are my favorite in our backyard. The way the world looks during that magical hour just after sunrise, if I allow it to catch me, always stops me in my tracks and forces me to recognize the season we're in. The light is soft and glowy in a special and fresh way. As I notice the way it dances through the trees and how it has changed since the last time I stopped to look, I'm suddenly aware that the seasons are changing.
Last week, while our daytime temperatures were still quite pleasant and mild, the air chilled significantly overnight and frost found its way back into our yard in the early mornings. Fall is most certainly slipping into winter. And we're slipping into a new season as a family as well. The transition from summer to fall collided with significant transition for us too, a new school and routine for our kindergartner, a major maturity leap for our 3 who turned 4 year old boy, a new baby sister. The transitions have shaped us and changed us; they've made their initial impact. We've adjusted our routines and they feel like old news now. Already the light in the backyard is changing again, and new opportunities and adventures and challenges will work their way into our lives. A new season is upon us.
On Saturday, after our morning coffee and oatmeal, the boys and I headed down to the depths of the basement to dig our favorite brown bear hats, a gift from Pop Pop before we moved to the Chicago tundra, out of the giant winter storage boxes. I'm not ready to bring all that winter gear up just yet, the boots and scarves and hats and gloves, but we took those brown bear hats for a little test run in the glowy morning light.
The hats still fit, a bit more snugly than last winter for sure, and as the boys got goofy trying them on and running around, I snapped these pictures of that soft light and their 4 and 5 year old smiles. They're the first snapshots of this new season and a reminder for me to keep chasing that light.