My sun sets to rise again. – Robert Browning
This shouldn’t take long. I think. I have passed this quote over a few times in my search each day for one to write about, but because I have just been for a walk as the sun was rising it inspired me to attempt to find the meaning in these few words. Again it seems so simple, so obvious and yet it has been quoted and printed in my calendar. Also it is by Robert Browning whom I have actually heard of so no doubt there must be something we can learn from here.
The first thing I notice is that he says My sun, not The sun. From memory I think he was a lovely, romantic fellow, in fact didn’t he write a lot of love letters? This is embarassing; I am not sure if I have the right person. Anyway I think he is saying that although his world seems to set or close and go dark (I just noticed how world and sun are related, interesting choice of metaphor Emma) it will always rise again; that all is not lost. Now I see the similarity between this and ‘When one door closes another opens’, though he is implying it’s a revolving door and much as you think it’s closed unless it’s see-through, (maybe that’s why they make them clear?) you may not realise that it is never actually closed. The world is not clear, thank goodness. And it is fairly large compared to the size of human beings, so we can’t see the rising sun appearing to circle the earth. Now there’s a thought. I didn’t study the planets in school but I can be pretty sure we revolve around the sun. So we each appear to revolve around the other. No wonder they were confused all those years ago.
Anyway as usual I digress and it was getting shaky because I think I was showing up huge gaps in my knowledge there. So now that the current thinking is that the world is round, we accept that the sun , in effect only circles the earth and because it is out of sight we call it a sun set, like you are setting a jelly, fairly permanently. But it is an illusion, it’s not permanent at all. I wonder what they thought the sun did when they thought the world WAS flat? They probably had a whole set of theories around based based on a false assumption, in the same way you need to tell a web of lies if you create the first one, to make it plausible. Wonder how that worked out for them?
SO, Robert is showing that he is an optimist. He compares himself to the Universe in a way, which we are all a part of. He even has his own sun. He knows that this part of him while appearing to set or disappear, is actually just part of the cycle of life or circle or life and will always return. He is not worried about the night, the darkness or the times of gloom. Well that’s good advice. We all have times of gloom. We couldn’t enjoy the sun so much if we didn’t know what it was to be without it We couldn’t enjoy Winter and Spring etc so much if we had nothing to compare them to. Who doesn’t appreciate different aspects of the changing seasons, even if you prefer one to the other?
Anyway this morning as I was walking, the sun was low against the horizon. And of course it casts the most beautiful light if it’s a clear day like today. A ‘warm’ light. Why does ‘warm’ conjure up a better image than ‘cold’ in most things? Photographers will often prefer to shoot at sunrise or before sunset because the quality of the light is different. We may laugh at the long shadows cast against the ground as kids, loving that we are suddenly ‘big’. It’s all good. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t appreciate that light.
In this analogy I like to think that when the sun does rise again we are given an extra treat, the sunrise itself, the glorious light and the colours in the sky from red, orange, yellow to blue (I have studied really closely looking for the green before and it is there; I think we just discount it mentally – ever seen a painting of a green sky?).
Perhaps Mr Browning is just reminding us to have the confidence that the sun will rise again. All will be well. This too shall pass (my favourite saying when I have forgotten to filter my thoughts and feel sad). He perhaps uses the sun because we like to think that until the planet explodes, the sunrise, even if obscured is as sure to come as death (and taxes). Everything goes in cycles and we are enriched because of that. Things are never as they seem. It depends how you look at them (the whole point of not only this post but this blog!).
I like this choice of metaphor. Most people love a sunset. They don’t fear it in fact they seek it out. The sun often goes down in a blaze of glory, similar to the sunrise. We can enjoy it because we don’t fear it. It just happens, we accept it, see it for what it is and we can cope with the outcome. We accept the darkness without fear.
However imagine if day was suddenly plunged into night, in an instant? We would not expect it. We might think the world was coming to an end. This can happen to us when a misfortune occurs. I guess the difference is that it was not expected. But similarly to after the sun sets, we are plunged into darkness. If like Mr Browning we can expect that the light will appear again with all certainty, no matter what has befallen us, we should be a little more accepting and hopefully less troubled while we wait. Watch it, accept it and know that although the event itself may not change – something is irrevocably gone or broken – time and our brilliant minds will eventually get our heads around that fact to accept it in some way and move on, hopefully. The sun sets to rise again.