Florida sunrise

I ran on Saturday morning in Florida. It was cold, 47 degrees, and I only had a tank top and shorts. By the end of my run my fingers were curled around my beloved orange iPod like a claw. It was dark when I set out, about 6:30. As I ran and watched the sun rise all around me, I felt a familiar regret that I didn’t have my camera with me. So I resolved to remember it and felt the words to describe what I was seeing coursing through my brain just like the blood did in my body.

For some reason, that morning I looked at the sunrise with unusual perspicacity. Maybe it was being away from home. Maybe it was getting up from a night of very little sleep and feeling that hyper-awareness that exhaustion sometimes brings (me, at least).

At first I noticed the deep orange and vivid fuschia sun peeking out right at the edge of the horizon. It was really just the rays of the sun breaking through the darkness, not even the actual sun yet. Then the sun rose and its brilliance split the sky in a sudden, definitive way. I swear there was a moment when the sun rose. I know that sounds trite, but I have never noticed it before.

The colors at the horizon brightened and broadened, radiating into the darkness and turning the night sky into an ashy dawn gray. There were uneven bands of coral pink, lavendar, gray, orange. I thought of something Courtney has always said: “Nature always gets it right.” There is no color dissonance in nature. Ever.

I ran on, listening to some of my new favorite songs (“A Lack of Color,” Death Cab for Cutie, is my current obsession – a title that has some irony given the color, somehow both riotous and gentle, I watched as I listened). The sky continued to lighten, and by the time I turned around the sky was, in patches, the pale pink of the inside of a seashell. The most luminous, gorgeous color. And faint blue morning sky breaking through. And, if I squinted, I could almost make out actual beams of sunshine darting through the washed-out easter egg colors of the sky.

It was the kind of sunrise that makes me want to stop and just watch, agape and in awe. It was the kind of sky that makes me believe in heaven. My struggle to find faith – a faith that I can surrender to, lean into when I am weak, really trust in – is one I have written about here. There are times, few but undeniable, when I feel close to faith. It is a feeling of bumping into something large, something shadowy and indistinct, but also irrefutable, of somehow brushing up against a mystery that can only be something greater than I am. Saturday morning was one of those times. And I was able to suspend my brain’s chatter for long enough to really watch and feel, in my heart more than my head, the glory of the morning unfolding before me.

3 thoughts on “Florida sunrise”

  1. How lucky you are that you were able to experience such a stunning, breathtaking moment. As much as I dislike early morning wake-ups, I adore the sunrise. There is something so mystical, so awe inspiring about it. And when you have the TIME (mentally and physically) to actually notice these things, it makes it that much more special. Welcome home!

  2. Don't you love these moments when you are forced outside of yourself and your world, to realize and revere something much bigger? I am so happy that I have now spent a week in a different place, cushioned by a natural world far more complex and compelling than my own existence. I am so happy that you had this moment or string of moments when life's color was apparent and awe-inspiring.

    I need to start running – for physical and metaphysical reasons. (I know that was not remotely the point of your post, but thanks for the encouragement.)

  3. What a beautiful picture you paint. The times when I'm questioning my faith, all I have to do is look up. The sky is breathtaking every second of the day, a picture painted specifically for us.
    Glad you had that moment!

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