Have you ever been stopped dead in your tracks by the rising sun? A couple of days ago it happened to me. I was on autopilot, going through the (stiff) motions of a typical morning jog. Then as I turned one corner that reveals the canyons and hills beyond the neighborhood, I was jolted out of my haze by the most stunning splendor of pinkish-orange sky that I have yet to witness. And I have seen a lot of sunrises in my lifetime.
I’ve always preferred early mornings to late nights. My bunk-mates at sleep away camp loathed the fact that as soon as reveille sounded, I flew out of bed to start the day. Sometimes I even preempted the bugle. Not much has changed; I am often up before my alarm buzzes. This I surely inherited from my father, who used to walk to work so that he could enjoy the city that never sleeps when it was, in fact, sleeping. He visited his patients and caught up on administrative tasks before colleagues arrived. And he even enjoyed a quiet bagel with jam. All within the wee hours of the morning.
Morning hours inspire some of my most productive thinking as well. As such, this week I have been considering the power of genetics– particularly how a child is like a parent in certain habits. From morning activity to homework trends, the patterns are striking! And a little frightening as well. Let’s discuss that nagging issue of homework.
My second grader was slammed with a shocking homework expectation. OK, perhaps that’s some projection. She tackled it like a champ, but I am still reeling. Perhaps it’s a difference in school curricula or maybe it’s just growing a year older, but times they are a changing! This week one assignment addressed concepts such as several significant amendments in US voting history, the discrepancy between the millions of people who could or did vote from one election year to the next, and the right to choose to vote or not. It was more than a little sophisticated. The final question asked whether she would vote this year if she were 18 years old. Her simple answer: No. It was actually more of a hummpppfff. But I told her that her answer was fine, just that she had to give an explanation as to why not. This is what she wrote in haste: It would take to (sic) long.
There you have it. My child says it like it is, without flowering BS and with some very questionable penmanship. But she unabashedly makes her opinions known. I tried to make sense of this– the genetics behind her resistance to homework and, moreover, conformity. Then it struck me– on a run this week– that I know the exact origins of this particular characteristic. Without naming names, I’ll just say that one parent in this household doesn’t register to vote. It’s not a particularly political statement or even a strong dislike of presidential choices. Rather, this parent abstains from voter registration in order to avoid jury duty! Right now you’re either horrified or envious…
Back to a less polarizing subject matter than homework, politics and civic duty. Who knows what combination of timing and temperature and marine layer contributes to the phenomenal scene of the other morning, but I won’t be the one who calculates it. I will, however, chase that sunrise so that when I see it again I will have my camera/phone ready to document it for you. In the meantime, the photo above and below will have to suffice– just another dawn from beginning to end of my run. And one last contemplation: My dad would have loved that sunrise.