It took me 34 years to finally.......watch the sun rise.
I am fairly confident I have been up and outside when the sun is rising, multiple times. This, however, was different. This was watching with a sense of purpose, a sense of gratitude and a real sense of amazement. It was really awe inspiring and breath taking to be outside with the sole intention of watching the sun rise. I am grateful to have started off my day in this way and I certainly look forward to doing it again soon!
I woke up around 5:55 a.m.--it was meant to be. I am not big on alarms as I hate being jolted out of bed. I realize this strategy is not realistic forever, but for now, it works for me. I am not always great at getting to work by 9, but I am fairly consistent in getting in by 9:30. As I have said many times, I have never been a morning person, but my hope is that project sunrise helps me with this a bit. Not that there is anything wrong with not being a morning person, but I really and truly want to find a way to optimize all hours of the day and make the most of each day.
So, my eyes opened at 5:55 and I knew this meant I was supposed to go to the Park to watch the sun rise. I put a sweatshirt, light jacket, Sox had and jeans on and was out the door. Looking back, I should have bundled up more as I had no idea how chilly it was going to be. I was out of the apartment by around 6:10. I had put the next week of sun rise times in my calendar, so I knew I had until 6:35 to get to the river, which was plenty of time.
As I first left my apartment I was happy to see others up and about. It is funny, when you are usually out of the house between 8:30 a.m. and 9, you, or at least I, always assume nothing happens before then. The real "stuff" happens between 8:30 and 9. Obviously it is called "rush hour" for a reason, but there were a good number of people out the door early, especially people with dogs and strollers in tote. It made me smile to think of all the happy dogs and children getting to see this time of day. Maybe they will all be morning folk. I could take lesson from all of them.
I actually got a bit anxious as I was walking down 90th to the water. I have found that the older I get the more anxious I get with new things. Whether it be a new routine, a new restaurant or hanging out with a new person. A great bit of anxiety comes along with the newness. I forged along and continued my walk to the river. It was a chilly, but beautiful morning. You could tell the sun was beginning to make its way to greeting the morning sky as the clouds and horizon were starting to shift from dark to light purple and then a glorious pink. It really was beautiful.
When I finally got to my favorite park, Carl Schurz Park on the East River, I found that while people were out running and walking, I was the only person looking for a bench. I took a seat to watch nature's spectacular free show.
As I was sitting on the bench, I kept looking around to see if anyone else was here for the same show I was. At first I found it odd, that I was the only one paying attention to the sunrise. Like some folks sit down to watch tv, or a movie, or listen to a radio program, I was sitting down to watch the sun rise. It was my reason for being there. It then occurred to me that all of these folks are likely morning folks and perhaps they have been here before me, many days, many years and seen many sunrises. I hope I never get to the point of not stopping to watch the sun rise. I was almost sad for them. I was envious of their morning person abilities, but sad that it has made them take the sun rise for granted. Although I am fairly certain the pigeon next to me was watching too.
I put on my favorite meditation podcast and instead of closing my eyes, I really started observing the sky, the clouds, the horizon, the buildings, the river. I started really paying attention to what happens when the sun rises, how the colors change, and how the buildings and environment are quickly impacted by the rising sun.
I found myself getting nervous again. It was 6:35 and while the sun had "risen" there was cloud coverage and the sun hadn't made its way above the cloud coverage. We will call it nature's restricted or limited view. I was nervous because this was something new for me. I was nervous because I had just the day before said that I wanted to take advantage of every day and every breadth. What if I suddenly died here in the park. For me, it always goes back to my dropping dead. Luckily my ability to write this blog ruins any type of cliff hanger you were hoping for there.
I learned a very important lesson this morning, mother nature is on her own time table. I found myself saying, ok, it is 6:35, sun, where are you? I then laughed at myself. Patty, seriously, that isn't how it works. Just because the sun rises at a certain time, it doesn't mean it will rise for you at that time. I found myself wishing the time away. I found myself wanting it all to happen. I feel that I do this a lot. Always wishing things away, always waiting for the next best thing. I really need to try and find a way to be WAY better at living in the moment. I would continue to tune in and out of my medication pod cast. I was grateful for the reminder that "I had nothing to do right now and it was my time to rest and relax completely." I said to myself, you are right pod cast lady, I have no where else to be, nothing to do, except enjoy this moment.
Once I was able to get out of my own head (which is often my biggest challenge), I really started paying attention to the clouds around where the sun was about to rise. Everything changed in an instant. The most brilliant light I have ever seen was shining on those beautiful clouds. I felt like a little kid waiting to blow out her b-day candles, or waiting to open presents on Christmas morning. I felt myself sitting on the edge of the park bench as I could see the clouds continue to glow with radiance. First just the bottom of the clouds, then soon the entire cloud was bursting with light. It was magnificent.
As I continued to watch the colors change, I noticed the river was also suddenly beginning to change. I am glad I didn't take my eyes away, I am glad I didn't give up on myself and I waited those extra ten minutes because it was certainly worth it. It was really amazing to see the sun peak up as if out of no where. It seemed to move so fast once it finally broke free of the additional cloud horizon it had to deal with this morning. It was so amazing to see. It really was. I am fairly certain I was able to see my first sun rise around 6:45 this morning. I am proud of myself for making it through the anxiety and taking a step to try and really experience new things and not take time or nature for granted. I am glad I found some patience and waited the 10 extra minutes to see the sun rise for me, vs. the actual sun rise time. At 6:35 for a moment I almost said, well, I saw the sun rise. I saw the sky go from darker purple to lighter pink. I cannot believe I almost left.
As I walked back to my apartment, I continued to turn back around to see the sun "rise" from many different locations. Where it first broke into my line of site from where I was at that moment. It was then that I realized that the sun rises in different places across the city at different times. I always knew that scientifically there was one actual sun rise time, but it hit me in a weird way that there were so many chances to have your first sight of the sun on any given morning. While there is the official "sun rise" time, depending on where you are, what your sight line is of the horizon and what building, trees, etc. may be in your way there are many chances to catch this.
I found myself freezing when I got back to my apartment, I found myself happy and freezing.
As hard as things get and as impossible as things may seem, you can still watch the sun rise, tomorrow.
And that's all she wrote...