Strange, seemingly poignant thoughts can pop up first thing in the near-dawn hours, and the title phrase is one of them.
This is a real-time post, as it is 6:28 AM and I am currently sitting next to the balcony window in the near-vacant guest room facing the backyard (much better viewing than my own bedroom). Ramadan is in full swing so I was up a couple hours earlier to eat my only meal til sundown. I looked to YouTube to help me drift back to sleep but, as usual, it kept me up further. Soon enough, faint daylight peeped in from my windows. While my online search for an Otterbox is indeed urgent, catching this sunrise couldn’t be passed up.
I actually prefer sunrises to sunsets. Sure, sunsets are gorgeous in their own right, and I love staring at the rich colors bleed into night. But sunrises offer so much more peace. There is such a stillness and calm in the silence before everyone is up and about–the start of a new day. Almost anyone can watch a sunset (unless you’re nocturnal), but sunrises are more happenstance so there’s an added joy at actually “catching” one.
Watching the sun rise with friends and loved ones is a different happiness altogether. It’s often the result of a night so well spent together, that, before you realize it, you all are still awake into the next day. That’s what happened during my most recent trip to England for a cousin’s wedding. Just about every night was summed up by chai and shisha at our uncle’s house. But one session in particular ran longer than the rest, so that the group of us cousins and friends decided to drive out to a field in a nearby town to view the sunrise. This is November mind you so that morning-as every other- was chilled to the bone and damp with the dew that was already setting in. After parking and a little trek through a wooded area, we popped out into what seemed to be a country club golfing green. Suddenly our pack of early to mid 20 year-olds broke out in a run like schoolkids getting out of class, skipping and piggybacking onto each other towards the light.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t really see the sun itself, only the light growing brighter over the horizon of the small town below. We just stood there in the empty field, all together; shifting and hugging to keep warm, taking pictures to remember the save memories, couples embracing in bliss. The cliche is painful, but time really did stand still for a little bit. Some of us hadn’t seen each other in years, some of us just met a few days before, and most of us would scatter apart again soon after this. Finally, a groundskeeper from the club had to shoo us away, but not before snapping a last group shot of us huddling on a bench.
Afterwards came the first Full English Breakfast those of us from the States had ever tried (baked beans for breakfast whaat.) and so on and so forth. The wedding was, of course, beautiful and memorable, and we all had a good time up to the last minute of the trip. Yet this memory of the sunrise excursion still stands out out to me. The best times usually come from spontaneity and this was definitely one of them. It just…happened.
Well I didn’t envision this post detouring into Memory Lane, but what do you know, happenstance.