Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.

The first time I saw the sunrise was on a camping trip. I’d been up all night before but my bedroom faced west so I saw a lot of sunsets but in the mornings I’d only seen the sky lighten and get gradually brighter. It depends on your definition of “sunrise”, though—I suppose any time before it reaches its zenith you’re seeing the sun rise. I expected it to look like a sunset in reverse but was surprised by how different the light was, how the whole sky brightened even before the first bright sliver appeared over the horizon. I’d spent the night in a tent that was little more than a canvas draped over a pole so my sleeping bag was on the ground and during the night I woke up to find I’d moved around so much in my sleep my head was outside the tent. I was looking straight up into the stars and in my barely conscious state I had this vision that the stars weren’t points but long beams of light that spanned an unimaginable distance. I thought that, if I could move just enough so that I was no longer looking at them straight on, I’d see them like lines of a web stretched across space.

In school I’d just started reading Thoreau, and I remembered the line, “The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

I thought about it this morning too while driving into work. For the first time in weeks I left the house in the dark, thanks to the time change. I know some people love Daylight Savings Time—they love the light lingering later in the afternoons, but the mornings, as far as I’m concerned, are for the birds. Or would be if the birds were even awake.

I drive east to work so I was headed straight into the sunrise. I passed joggers, dressed all in black for some reason, and even in the brightening sky could only see the lights of airplanes making very early flights.

Once I got to the parking garage and got out of the car the whole sky was azure except in the east where it was peach and seashell pink. The sun still wasn’t up though, and I didn’t wait around to see it. Getting up before dawn isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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    Light always dawns when I read your illuminating posts, Chris.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you for adding a little light to this thought, Ann.


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