In praise of the sunrise

Sunrise over Bryce Canyon - In praise of sunrisesOver on my other site, I recently finished a three-part series on sunsets, why we value them and how to photograph them. You might think from that series that I’m fond of sunsets. I am. But in truth, I actually prefer sunrises. Why?

  • Sunrises are, to me, rarer. I’m usually awake when the sun sets. When it rises? That’s more dependent on the season and the previous night.
  • Sunrises are more surprising. With sunsets, you see them coming. With sunrises, you’re in the dark – literally – before they occur. You never know what you’ll get.
  • Sunrise is a special time of day. If I can actually drag myself out of bed to witness the sunrise, I’m usually glad I did. There’s something about the early morning that goes deep. I value the peace of it before all the busyness of the day descends and sadly, makes the experience of beholding the sun rising seem like an unnecessary frivolity.
  • Sunrise offers a different kind of light. The surrounding air, except in the hottest summer days, can be cool or even frigid. But on a clear morning, the sun’s warm light breaks through the cold atmosphere offering a glorious sensation, hot and cold all at the same time. Unusual, but it works. Sort of like dark chocolate with sea salt.
  • Sunrises are hopeful. This, above all other reasons, is why I love the morning sun making its appearance each morning. Sunrises welcome the day. They help us remember that we have another day. They grow in light and cast out the dark. There’s more than symbolism at play in the Christian celebration of Resurrection Sunday that we celebrate at sunrise. A light has indeed come…and in a way, comes every morning.

When I begin to wonder if I’m overthinking this whole thing about sunrises, all I have to do is climb out of a warm bed and step outside of a warm house into the cold of morning and look up. And there, I behold once again this glowing sign of hope.

I figure we can all use a little hope.

Every single day.


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