During the pandemic in December 2020, I pulled on my jacket and walked outside to take a photo of the sunrise. The next morning I did the same. For the new year of 2021, I decided to take a photo of each sunrise of the year and post the images with the time of the sunrise to Instagram stories. It was a way to witness the passing of time, real time, during the stagnation and disconnectedness of the quarantine days of Covid 19.
I intended to stop on December 31, 2021. However, the next morning I stepped outside, almost without thought, and took a photo of the sunrise. So began the sunrises of 2021. I knew months before the end of 2022 that I would walk in the snow on January 1, 2023. And so I did.
When does something become a routine, then a habit? When and why does it transcend a habit to become something more, something deeper like a ritual or a ceremony? What is the difference between each and what is the meaning of the distinctions? How does a ritual shape or inform the way that an event is perceived and experienced?
As I begin the third cycle of intentionally witnessing the sunrises, these are some of the questions I am contemplating.
Today I feel less adrift and more at home. The feeling of home includes the memory of standing in the snow 1,200 miles from here eleven sunrises ago, as well as a month ago. The sunrise gave me roots.
If I let it, a procedure can become the foundation of a ritual. When a ritual is honored, it has the potential to open a door to the unexpected.
Sunrise is no longer a habit or a routine. This year I have designated it as a project and it is now housed along with my formal projects on my website. It is a ritual.
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