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Dusk v. Dawn

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

-- Closing Time by Semisonic

 

Dusk v. Dawn

by Christine Reed

I’ve always been bad at goodbyes

Never wanting to make a show of my exit

Preferring to leave quickly

Quietly

Closing doors

Unceremoniously

Never to be opened again


There are versions of myself

Behind those doors

Past lives

I’ve always been up for reinvention

Ready to throw it all away in service

Of the next best thing


I’m finding this goodbye the hardest yet

This dusk lingers on my doorstep

I’ve started to wonder if a new dawn

Must always erase

What came before


Find Christine on Instagram and TikTok @ruggedoutdoorswoman

Read her memoir Alone in Wonderland for a journey on the Wonderland Trail.

 

5-7-5 and a tanka : ‘done and dusted’ or ‘dawn (and dusked)’

by Bronwyn Preece

haikuing my clock

alarm of rising birdsong

time warped in colour


palette of splayed rays

one-upping impermanence

counting [the] moments

disappearance in dissolve

emerging into immersion


Bronwyn Preece is honoured and privileged to live on the unceded Traditional Territories of


the Lil’wat # and Squamish Peoples in Whistler, BC. This awareness brings with it many levels of responsibility, humbleness, transparency, and collaborative possibilities. She is a site-sensitive poetic-pirate and multi-disciplinary, community-engaged arts practitioner. She holds a PhD in Performance, along with an MA and BFA in Applied Theatre. She has taught, facilitated workshops and performed internationally. She is the author of Gulf Islands Alphabet (Simply Read Books, 2012); and the forthcoming knee deep in high water: riding the Muskwa-Kechika, expedition poems (Caitlin Press, 2023) and Sea to Sky Alphabet (Simply Read Books, 2023); along with multiple academic and artistic publications. She is an avid solo, backcountry-backpacker who writes on the trail, with the word gratitude tattooed on her arm. Find her on Instagram @poetichiker.

 

Afterglow

by Belinda Arndt

I joke that I am a professional sunset chaser. Whenever a spectacular sunset brews, I message my group chat of friends to tell them to look outside immediately! Some do, but most don't. They mess with me and call me the sunset girl. I just don't want people to miss something so beautiful, especially when our days are filled with busyness and darkness. You never know when someone needs a break to look up at the sky to feel like their world isn't ending.

I am unsure how I started chasing sunsets. As much as I love watching the sun go down on the horizon. I prefer how the sky bursts into dances of colors.


My favorite sunset is the one that comes from darkness. After a thunderstorm, the clouds make enough room for the sun to appear, splitting the rays toproduce the most vibrant reds, purples, pinks, yellows, and blues– like a Bob Ross painting. Those are my favorites, not because of the cliché that something comes from darkness. It's how two extremes work together to produce magic.


In the last few years, I have been lucky to see a lot of magic, especially on my travels. Travels I never thought I would do. Travels that made me the person I am today with the help of Mother Nature.


The night before my birthday, some friends and I went to the highest point at Spruce Knob to chase a sunset. We were unsure if there would be one since it was dark, but Mother Nature knew we needed to see her magic. Suddenly, the sky opened enough that the sun sat between the clouds and the mountains. The sun smiled at us, hinting that it could see us. She was putting on a show for us knowing we were all fighting with our own darkness thanks to the pandemic and life.


a few years later, we were in Lost River celebrating the 4th; my same friends and I decided to take a super last-minute hike. It started to rain. We thought about turning around because we didn't think there was any hope of chasing the last light of the day. But I had a feeling there would be an epic sunset. I was right. As we reached the summit, it felt like we stepped into a different world. Piercing yellows and oranges like a burnt sienna picture encircled us and blinded our view. Finally, the rain stopped, and the sky became a mix of pinks intertwining with the blues of the clouds.


My most cherished places to chase the light are Colorado and Utah. I have witnessed natural enchantment at Colorado National Monument during a quick break between Denver and Moab, watching the last few minutes of light turning numerous colors, signaling the end of a long travel day. And sprinting to the G in Telluride to take it up to Mountain Village, praying I didn't miss the alpenglow of the mountains. And right outside of Sand Dunes National Park where the sunset looked like the Colorado Flag.


Watching blues, reds, and oranges swirl around the sharp, jagged edges of cliffs at Deadhorse State Park gave me a sense of completeness. The last time I was there was eight months before at sunrise. I was very broken then, but the park helped me become less broken. The colors exploded behind the arches as I stood there, thanking the Universe for allowing me to come back again to experience the completion of the cycle of the sun.


Sunset symbolizes the end of the day, the end of the light before darkness comes. But to me, sunsets are about letting go of what happened during the day and setting the next day's intentions. A new beginning.


Belinda Arndt is a solo traveler and adventurer based outside of Washington DC. Her tagline is "It's always an adventure with me!" Catch her adventures on her website WanderingBel.com which aims to build a community of solo travelers to share their travel stories. You can find her on instagram @wandering_bel and Facebook at Wandering Bel Blog

 

Dusk: The Beginning

by Sierra Eberly

Dusk to many is the end

the end of a day

time to turn in

time to slow down


For me, it’s the beginning

It’s quiet now

Time for reflection

Time for listening


The nighthawks greet me

from high in the night sky

With a dive and a boom

To start off the night


Orange appears

behind their wingtips

and slowly drips down

to the mountains below


The coyote yips

alerting her pack

it’s time for dinner

rabbit better run fast


Here comes the Moon

She’s so graceful and steady

a constant companion

throughout every stage


Now Orion has joined

on Winter’s shoulder

guiding the way

to the next day’s adventure


With dusk comes a calm

a stillness and comfort

with it brings intention

with it brings wonder


Dusk is the beginning

the window for rest

with my heart and mind open

what comes next?


Sierra is a trail runner and backpacker who lives full-time in her campervan with her dog, Snow. She started her own copywriting business, Boondock Consulting, and when not working, she explores trails less traveled every chance she gets. You can find her on Instagram at @sierrastraverse and read her personal blog at www.sierrastraverse.com

 

When The Sky Gives Way

by Meaghan Martin

Snow and ice crunched under my boots as I led our way up the trail. It was cold, probably in the low twenties, and we could hear the wind above the trees. I could see our breath in the light of our headlamps, swirls of vapor dancing in the only beams of light to pierce the darkness. I glanced back at my partner, her eyes meeting mine. We’d planned this hike weeks ago, our first ever pre-sunrise hike. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. We’d to go to bed early on New Year’s Eve, wake at 2 o’clock in the morning to drive to the trailhead, and then climb a mountain to watch the first light of the new year greet us from the top. Now the whole thing seemed a bit terrifying.

As a child I’d been afraid of the dark, choosing to sleep with a nightlight well into my early twenties. I’d come to understand pretty early on in life that it wasn’t really the dark that was the problem; it was the potential that the dark contained. When you’ve been awoken in a panic, in total darkness, by someone who was in the process of causing you harm, you learn that the monsters are real after all. They’re just never what you expect.


I felt a tremor of apprehension move through me with a shudder as I hiked onward. “Left, right. Left, right” I thought to myself as we climbed. Every time I swept the beam of my headlamp across the trail ahead of me, I half expected to see another pair of eyes staring back at me, but the eyes never came. My heart was pounding hard, from both the exertion and my own hypervigilance, as we paused for a quick break. I peeled off a layer as my partner drank water. I always warmed up more quickly than she did, and a little while later we would stop again so she could do the same.


As we approached the open expanses of rock, where the trees started to look more like shrubs before they gave way to granite, a shiver ran down my spine. It was still so impossibly dark around us, consuming us, still and silent in the glittering snow, and the tiniest part of me wondered fleetingly if the sun really would rise, or if it would just stay dark like this forever.

Just for a moment, I felt the pain of all the other nights I’d wondered the same thing. The nights where my emotions had rocked me to my core, crashing to depths that I hadn’t known possible, where I felt nothing but the desolation of despair that let me believe that no one would care that much if I was gone anyway.


A few minutes later, we reached the peak. We tucked ourselves in against the scraggly, shoulder-high conifers, sipping hot cocoa, trying to find relief from the wind that whipped shards of snow across the open summit in front of us. I gazed in awe as the sky slowly turned from black, to the deepest shade of cobalt blue I’d ever seen. As the minutes passed, the smattering of stars faded. A gradient of oranges and yellows appeared, turning brighter and brighter at the horizon, before the sky gave way, pinks and purples illuminating the clouds above.


I stood and moved to the edge of the cliff to watch the sun peek over the mountains in the distance. I snapped a photo and was struck by how inevitably flawless this moment seemed, when only a few minutes before I’d wondered if it would even arrive. Just like those nights earlier in my life, where things had felt too dark to bear, the light had still returned. I just had to be patient enough to welcome it.


Meaghan is a backpacker and writer living in Maine with loved ones and pets. You can find her on Instagram and TikTok at @meaghan_adventures

 

Rising

By Anne Whiting & Sarah Grace Whiting

This piece is an original song with music, available to listen on Youtube

I stood upon the gray

Of a rock above the void

The desert night was silent

Stillness before the dawn

A single line of gold

Appeared where sky meets sand

The clouds turned pink beneath

A spreading glow moves on

A breeze upon my cheek with

A rustle in the leaves

A warmth dispelling the chill

And all the earth breathes

And all the earth breathes in

And all the earth breathes in

It’s rising

In colors and in hues

It’s rising

A day that is brand new

It’s rising

We are rising, too

The dark of night is washed away

We’re ready for another day

It’s rising

To shine the morning’s light

It’s rising

To bring us all to flight

It’s rising

It’s gonna be all right

A dawn bringing visibility

A breath full of possibility

A laugh shake off immobility

A shout born from persistency

A trail here in tangibility

A certain sign, our nobility

Rising

Rising Rising

Rising


Anne Whiting has been creating adventure opportunities through trail guides since 2010. She publishes her guides on her blog and in book form. When not dreaming up new trails, she likes to play music with her band and dabble in digital art and website development. Follow Anne’s past and present adventures on Facebook, MeWe, Patreon, and Instagram @viewjunkieanne

 

Shadow puppets

by Heidi Love

Fireflies glow

Logs crackle

Flames dance

Dark


Stars awaken

Crickets sing

Embers fade

Darker


Mist surrounds

Silence falls

Ash Cools

Darkest


Heidi is a camper and hiker living with loved ones and pets in South Florida.

 

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