First Light

For some reason, the phrase We go at first light has been stuck in my head for weeks. Maybe it is because, finally, I am waking in the light to go to school, and I am very attuned to the first light of the day. It may also be because this week marks the AIMS 10 Year Accreditation Visit at Kent School. We have been reflecting as a community on every detail from mission to program to experience for two years to unearth and showcase all of our highlights. Or, it may just be because I read it recently in a book.

First light as a phrase has been used since the 1700s, presumably dating back to a time when people had no other way of telling the time. Morning twilight, or dawn, is the time of day when light first appears, before the sun makes its appearance. In the Military, first light is the beginning of morning nautical twilight, when the center of the morning sun is 12 degrees below the horizon. In astronomy, first light is the first use of a telescope to see star light.

To me, the phrase signals adventure and the start of a journey. It is also in its simplest form, poetic and romantic. It corresponds to a magical and peaceful time of day when only poets and authors are taking notice of the awakening. The birdsong and the gentle river currents feed the creativity of the soul. All things are possible.

Although we don’t use the phrase first light in education, we should. I have witnessed many times myself at Kent School that exact moment when light first shines in a student’s eyes as they master a new concept. Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher captured it perfectly: My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil’s mind, and behold, all things are changed!

If you need me at first light, I will be on the porch, writing.

Photo: Satellite Beach, FL

2 thoughts on “First Light

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: