I have seen more than a few sunrises in my time. If my math is right, something over 22,995 have come and gone since I came into this world. I’m not the earliest riser on the planet, but early enough to watch the sun come up most days on the drive to the tree farm. It’s my favorite time of day. I don’t care where I’m at.
Sunrise at the beach. Sunrise on the front porch. Sunrise on US Hwy 27. Each one different. And sometimes I pull over for just a minute to take it in. The views from atop Pine Mountain at the overlook can be captivating. On a cold morning, looking back east over the valley, I can see the smoke rising from my chimney in the distance.
This morning I am in Prattville, AL to witness my niece’s wedding. And I am up at sunrise. Partially because my back is killing me and I can’t lay there any longer. Partially because I want to be up.
Some of you are groaning. But I don’t care. Some of you are thinking that happy morning people should be flogged. I don’t care. Sunrise is the best time of day, and here is a sample of what all the sleepy heads missed.
I stood out in the open field next to the hotel parking lot. The hum of the interstate below me. The lighted signs of restaurants in the distance.
“Waf le H’use”
I thought it could be a French restaurant. I heard it in my mind like Peter Sellers in Pink Panther would read it. The second “f” was completely gone. The “o” was out. I imagined waffles being eaten in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in view out the window.
But I digress. I was there to watch the sun come up. Because Prattville is elevated considerably, I had a clear and unobstructed view to the distant horizon miles away. I know that the sun is not actually rising, but that I am rotating toward it. Like water over a waterfall at about 1000 mph. The farther over the edge I go the more of the sun is revealed to the spot where I stand.
There’s a noise to my right and I look. A doe has snuck out of the woods and is standing about 100 feet from me. She is blowing at me.
“Get out of my spot.”
I blow. “I was here first.”
I think about all the freezing cold sunrises I’ve seen from a deer stand just to get close. And there she stands taunting me. Ears straight up. Tail straight up. I blow back and she blows back. I blow back and she wheels around and disappears into the tree line.
But I digress. In the east there is small slit in the clouds. Incredibly, it lines up perfectly with the path of the rising sun. The pink intensifies. Then the crest breaks the horizon and moves up through the opening. The full ball comes into view, lifts and passes into the clouds above in just a matter of minutes. No protective eye glasses were necessary to see it perfectly.
I almost never notice how fast the sun moves through the sky. At noon there is no reference. Watching the sun is bad for your eyes at midday. Plus it’s kind of like watching grass grow. Nothing much happens. But at sunrise, it’s awesome. It was like watching the Saturn V lift off at Cape Canaveral.
One more geeky piece of information. Not only are we rotating at 1000 mph to the east, but we are moving around our orbit at a clip of over 66,000 mph. The fact that this happens every single day at every single sunrise is enough to make a fella dizzy. I am in awe.
No one else in the hotel was out. Everyone in their cubicles with the curtains closed. I checked. Cars rushing up and down the interstate oblivious to the creation. I had it all to myself. Wish you were there.