Beth Touchette: Inspired By The Morning Star

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It’s a different world early in the morning, and Beth Touchette finds herself inspired its intense beauty.

Our 12-year-old golden retriever Apollo has given me so much over the years: a way to get to know my neighbors, silent companionship on hikes, and an appreciation for the hour before sunrise.

Apollo goes to sleep around 9, and rises around 5 a.m. He walks to our bedroom door, and if the door is open, he circles our bed until either my husband or I wake up. 90% of the time, it is me. I fill his food bowl, and then we go for a short walk. The night clears the dust from the air, and sleep has cleared the dust from my brain. The stars seem closer than they do at 10 PM.

One morning this summer, I noticed Venus lighting up the eastern sky. Larger and more luminous than any star, it sparkled next to the waning crescent moon. In June of 1889, Vincent Van Gogh was also inspired by the sky before dawn. He painted Venus next to the cypress tree in Starry Night. Van Gogh was not happy with his finished work, but art historian Sven Loevgren stated the more common response, that the painting “gives the never-to-be forgotten sensation of standing on the threshold of eternity. “

On a June morning in 2022, I too felt euphoric while staring at the sky. I was wearing a tank top, hair unbrushed, with breathe almost as bad as Apollo’s. The sun had not yet risen, but some of its light began to illuminate our path. The colors of the houses, cars, and flowers of my no-longer-familiar neighborhood were muted, mostly grey. I viewed the landscape with my retina’s rods, more the way Apollo sees all the time.

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When we reached home, I pondered all that I could accomplish in the hours before my alarm went off. I decided to read a New Yorker article I started the night before. I fell back to sleep in five minutes. When I awoke, the bright sunlight streamed through my window. I could see the bright reds and multiple shades of green in the geraniums on our deck, but my inspiration was gone.

Apollo greeted me, and lead me to his food bowl, hoping I would fill it again.

With a Perspective, I’m Beth Touchette.

Beth Touchette is a North Bay teacher.