It’s Easter Sunday in quarantine, and I’m doing what I can to keep from going stir-crazy by embracing my inner homebody and focusing on gratitude for the time to tackle unfinished projects. Today, that meant framing and hanging some photos from my travels.
As I looked through prints, I found myself reflecting on two of my favorite sunrise photos, which share one thing in common: They were both taken on mornings when I nearly stayed in bed.
Some years ago, I adopted a mantra from a line in an Avett Brothers song, which I repeat to myself (and sometimes to others) when the skies of life get dark: “The day will come, the sun will rise, and we’ll be fine.” I think about that every time I see a sunrise. Easter Sunday also seems like a good time to reflect on the light that chases away the darkness.
Almost five years ago on another Sunday, I was crawling into bed at The Yellow House in Bar Harbor, Maine, a little travel weary and disappointed in the weather forecast which threatened to doom my chance at a bucket list experience – sunrise from Cadillac Mountain.
The skies were already clouded over and rain was expected throughout the night and morning, and I was due to depart Maine the next day. Still, there’s something about only having one shot that brings some small measure of hope – or maybe desperation. So, I set my alarm for 3:30am, telling myself I’d get up and at least look outside and check the weather again before giving up entirely.
Needless to say, my attitude was less benevolent when 3:30 arrived. Groggy and not wanting to move from under the covers, I checked the weather again. Clouds. Rain. Storms. I rolled over and blew out a huff of air before getting up begrudgingly and walking over to the window. Clouds covered the sky.
I moved to the other window and found one small patch of clear amidst the clouds. Part of me – actually, most of me – just wanted to crawl back into bed and chalk it up to bad luck. But the other, annoying, never-shuts-up-for-anything part of me was nagging me with the “what if.” One chance. What if?
So, I started dressing in layers in the dark, angry at myself for being too stubborn to just let it go, defeated in knowing that I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t try.
The drive to Acadia National Park and up Cadillac Mountain took about half an hour. My rented Ford Fiesta was happy for the lack of traffic since it struggled uphill without a good head of steam. As we wound our way to the top, I watched the sky battling between two outcomes – merciful clearness and a menacing black cloud.
I’m not sure there’s a colder or windier place in the country than the top of Cadillac Mountain. It’s the kind of wind that propels your whole body against your will when it blows. Even in my layers, I was freezing. I found a spot where I could hunker in between rocks and find some relief from the icy gale. Then, it was time to wait and hope that the sun would beat the storm to the mountain.
It did. I’ve never seen a more beautiful sunrise than the one I witnessed that morning. The colors were vibrant and stunning; the landscape inspired awe. But the hope renewed and the reward for simple belief – ever so stubborn – made it a moment I’ll always treasure. Whenever I see this picture, I’ll remember that.
“The day will come, the sun will rise, and we’ll be fine.”