What is the Golden Hour of Your Week?
On the day of my wedding, the sunset was at exactly 8:01 pm.
I know that for two reasons. First, before I even knew what an engagement ring was, I knew I would have a daytime outdoor wedding and needed to plan the ceremony around the sunset.
Second, after stalking Pinterest wedding boards for months on end for wedding photo examples, my absolute favorites were the pictures taken during the “Golden Hour.”
If you have never searched photographer portfolios online for months on end as I did, you might not know about the golden hour, so here it is.
In photography, “the golden hour of the day is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky.” (courtesy of Wikipedia).
If you’ve ever watched the sunrise or sunset, you know exactly what I am talking about. It’s the time of day when the sky lights up in deep oranges and reds and if you are watching near a body of water, the sunlight bounces in sparkles across it. It’s beautiful all around.
That’s the backdrop that I wanted for my wedding photos. And that’s what we got. Taken right after our 6 pm ceremony at approximately 7:15 pm, on one of the best days, even though several (small) things didn’t go perfectly, we managed to get nearly perfect photos with the softest sunlight sparkling through the trees and bouncing off of our skin.
Not only was it the golden hour of the day, but it was also the golden hour of that season in my life.
Two years later, as a full-time working mom of a toddler, wife, and part-time freelance writer, the days are so so long. And though I think about it often with so much joy and love, that wedding day golden hour seems light-years away.
It would be easy to get so caught up in the busyness of cooking and changing diapers, scheduling appointments, working on projects, and making deadlines that I miss looking for the “Golden Hours” in THIS season of life. Writing this article forced me to take a minute to think about it. To think about the time of my day or week where life seems softer, with less pounding heat, and light glimmers all around me.
I came to the conclusion that I have several golden hours throughout my week. The first is every day when I walk into my 14-month-old’s room first thing in the morning and she smiles big, showing all eight new teeth like I just arrived back home after a years-long trip. Sometimes, it’s the evening walks we take as a family around the neighborhood where my husband tells an inside joke and we laugh and the baby laughs too like she understands the joke.
Last week, I saw one of my former high school students who had finished school and earned her bachelor’s degree but was still working at the part-time retail job she had through college. She saw me and said hello, and her demeanor changed when she thought I might be disappointed in her, but all that came out of my mouth was the encouragement that she had plenty of time to decide, every experience can be good and I was so proud. She lifted her eyes and I could see one thousand anxious thoughts lift off of her shoulders. That was my golden hour for that week.
So what is the “Golden Hour” of your day, or week or this season in your life?
What are the moments that soften you after a long day in the sometimes bright searing heat? What ushers in that warm, gentle glow and filters into everything around you? Is it your toddler’s uncontrollable laugh when they are tickled? Or the quiet drive to work with the windows rolled down? Is it a morning cup of coffee with your spouse, before the kids wake up, or taking your teenager out for a day of shopping? Today, take some time away from your to-do list to think about the golden hours of your week and let those thoughts bathe you in the joy that they bring.