The Slant of the Sunlight

story and photo by Gabrielle L. Wheeler

I love this time of the year, yet there is the challenge of change in it as well. There is a visible shift in the patterns of the sunlight, not attributed to daylight savings, but which daylight savings is an effect of. This shift results in an almost tremulous tension of anticipation in my house as we await with hope of warmer weather come to stay. It also promises of shifts in regular routines and what we consider “life” in general.

The days are lengthening – which they have been steadily doing since December – but the sun is higher in the sky and the shadows fall more slanted. Perhaps it is because the sun shines more than it did in other months when winter snow storms brewed in thick clouds in the sky. Now it is mid-March, so there is no saying that another snow storm can’t hit, however, I have fallen in love with the days of blue skies we have had lately. Sky blue is my favorite color after all.

As spring approaches and the earth rotates nearer to the sun once more, the shadows of the trees in my woods contrast with more intensity against the thick top layer of detritus cast over the ground. With no leaves to overpower them, the shadows of the trunks stretch further than in winter it seems, bumping into each other as the trees bask in the warming sunlight. These shadows are not unlike those that the trout lilies and trilliums dance against in early May. I am filled with promises of spring.

This year I am filled with hope too. In the autumn, I wrote about the meaning of life and I alluded to the fact that I felt something shifting in my life ( I had an idea that it might be a career shift but wasn’t sure, and things did shift but not in the way that I had expected. Things continue to shift in unexpected directions – or maybe they slant.

I am not displeased with the changes that I have seen, just as I am not displeased at the increasing slant of the shadows in my woods. Rather, it makes me feel hopeful. I am hopeful in anticipation of warmer weather to come and the wildflowers that will appear on the forest floor. I am hopeful of the changes that affect my life and lean into the slant with the sunshine, allowing it to come. I also still think I had it right in my autumnal article: it’s the little things that give life meaning.

Gabrielle Wheeler is a freelance writer from the heart of the Finger Lakes Region. On her parenting blog,, she writes about tending to the whole child and parent. She also works in a local health center as an interpreter/patient navigator

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