I was abruptly awakened before dawn by a screaming child. It was my four-year-old daughter, she was wide awake, and apparently, nothing was good about this morning. The high-pitched, repetitive wailing also woke up my other child, a two-year-old boy we still call “the baby”, who added his own piercing voice to the mix. It was a bone-trembling, house-shaking, glass-shattering duet. Try as I might, I couldn’t sleep through it. Just kidding. I got up as quickly as I could, but with as much enthusiasm as a crude stone obelisk being pulled by an old horse, still holding on to the tiny ridiculous hope that I might go back to sleep. I quickly scooped up the shrieking baby and settled myself on the edge of my daughter’s bed. I clumsily tried to hug both crying children at the same time—to no avail. Then I hugged each child alternatively like I was trying on different fuzzy shawls for the fun of it. Oh, joy! Luckily, this worked. The baby was still tired, so he laid down calmly on the still warm bed as I held his sister on my lap. After I wiped away her tears and we (both) settled to a calm, I couldn’t help mentioning as I glanced out the window, “Oh my goodness! You are up before the sun!” adding vehemently, “The sun hasn’t even risen yet!”
“Mama, we are on the earth,” my daughter said as she pointed to the blue circle that represented our planet. We were facing her solar system wall stickers, colorful vinyl circles and stars whimsically (a bit too whimsically) arranged on the wall across from us.
“Yes, we are on the planet earth,” I said, nodding in agreement.
“Mama, where are we on the earth right now?” she asked.
It was a strange question and something she had never asked me before. I could feel the last remnants of sleep escaping my brain as I tried to make sense of it. My eyes scanned the dark room for a map or a clock. Then it hit me with startling clarity—I knew the exact answer to her question. The sky was still so dark, but the palest, thinnest line was now tracing the edge of the horizon, soon it would be much more.
“We are on the side of the earth that is slowly turning towards the sun,” I said. Maybe it was the drowsiness, but for a moment I could feel it too, like a gentle tug pulling me deep down to the center. We are on a revolving sphere that never stops and at that precise moment we were on the very edge of its shadow. “Soon we will face it and it will be day.”
Text and photos © M.P. Baecker and http://www.alightcircle.com 2017.