Sunrise People

Last month I wrote a few thoughts about people who take time to enjoy sunsets. Now let’s look at those who prefer to watch the sun come up each day.

Sunrise People are a bit more rare, I think, determined by the region where they live. In the Northern latitudes, the sun comes up while so many still sleep during the warmer months. In Fall and Winter, the sun breaking the horizon can cast an annoying glare over the morning commute. I welcome it, however.

Sunrises remind me of my childhood and our family “vacations.” Every other summer, we would make the trek from Arizona to the mountains of West Virginia to visit grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins from whom my parents had long moved away. If my father had had his way, we would have driven straight through without stopping. It was my mother, I’m guessing, who argued we spend money on motel-stays along the way.

As a concession (again, an educated guess), my father insisted we get back on the road early the next day. So, in the dark of 3 a.m., we’d load the car and be back on the highway, heading west before the sun had yet appeared. I loved to watch the day begin from the backseat of our Buick. The growing glow upon the landscape and the highway was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

While sunsets are more red, sunrises generally contain more blue light. Those cool colors like green, blue, and purple evoke calmness and meditation. It can stir contemplative melancholy, as well. In the pagan tradition, Sunrise was about growing, planting, creating, becoming. Maybe that’s why I write better at 4 a.m. than any other time of day. It’s also when I feel my most complete.

The window in my writing space at home faces east; at work, the window behind my desk does the same. Whatever the time of year, I’m able to witness the awakening new day. Months ago I bought an e-bike, allowing me the opportunity to see and feel the morning in an even different way. Not from the cozy comfort of a Buick, but up close and personal, you might say. (Oh, and how the invigorating ride sparks entirely different memories: Living and riding in Boulder, Colorado and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in my twenties.)

Taking time to watch the sun come up makes every morning a fresh start on life. Something we all need these days. There’s restorative magic in morning light. So, get up a little earlier if you can to view the sun coming up or take an early break to soak-in the morning. Feeling connected with the natural world in this way is an essential ingredient in emotional well-being. It can do wonders before facing the more “unnatural” world of the rest of the day.

A few hours after my wife and I talked casually about Sunrise and Sunset People, my six-year-old came to me, a thoughtful look on his face, and said, “Daddy, I’m a Sunrise and a Sunset person.”

That’s why he’s one of my favorite people in the world.

Gordon Gravley


2 thoughts on “Sunrise People”

  1. Gordon, while I am primarily a sunset person (night owl) “Sunrise People” and your road trip memories immediately took me back to my own experiences with my family getting up at 3 am to drive the 2 days to Los Angeles from Seattle to visit Grandma. I think my dad liked to drive straight thru too, mostly the same route (I-5) for fear of getting lost, but my mom would insist on stopping at the usual places to visit her relatives on the way (Salem OR) , to have a butterhorn and coffee (Rice Hill CA) , or to take the road less travelled. I have inherited Mom’s wanderlust, for I still love car trips, and “getting lost”. You discover so much good stuff finding your way back to the highway. Be well and keep writing!

    1. Great to hear from you, Kathy. I imagine that Father/Mother traveling dynamic is pretty common. Road trips are such a rich source of memories; we’ve collected so many already with our son, and look forward to many more. Take care, and please keep in touch.

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