Out here on the Pacific coast, we see a lot of sunsets but not so many sunrises. But last Saturday, Becca needed to shoot a sunrise for a project for her filmmaking class.
Learning from a previous fiasco in which we tried to film sunrise from a narrow valley (duh!), we found a good spot high on Grizzly Peak Blvd. facing east toward Orinda. We bundled up in jackets and gloves, set up the camera and tripod around 6:15, and waited.
First the sky got a rusty glow. Then it became rose, and pink, and orange. We watched a stray star (Venus?) rise higher into the sky and then vanish as the sky lightened. A bright yellow blaze started to emerge at the horizon; the leaves above us sparkled as they caught the sun before we did. On the slope behind us, grey bushes gradually turned to rose and stood like pilgrims waiting for a glimpse of a holy figure.
We finished filming and went about our weekend routine – spin class, groceries, driving Becca to watch her cousin Josh play soccer. But all day I went around with a feeling of special kinship for the day. On the freeway to the soccer game, I looked out and knew that everyone else in the Bay Area was seeing the expansive blue sky, the bright daylight, but only we had seen the beginning of it all. It was our secret.
And then sunset came, and I watched the sky darken from our bedroom window, and felt like I contained the day, cupped it like a child holding a salamander. I’d seen the beginning. I’d seen the end. It was my day.
I thought of our planet turning to meet the sun and then turning away, over and over, billions of times. I thought of ancient people huddling in cold and fear through the night, and then stretching with relief to know that the sun had come up again and they were still alive. For a rare few hours, I had been part of these cycles.
It was a totally ordinary day, but I will always remember it.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!