Be the Sunrise

I am not at home. I am up the Massachusetts shoreline a bit from home, at an annual writers’ retreat. This group has been meeting for decades. The beginning years were a challenge for me because I had very small children who I hated leaving for a week at a time. Then I had a job that was overbearing and difficult to leave. Of the two, the toddlers were much easier to manage.

Here I am at the retreat with a group of women who write fiction, essays, poetry, there’s a cartoonist and watercolourist. I have brought my tangled-up work in progress, the better to untangle

I have a history of sleeeping-in the first day of our stay, in need of all-out lazy. That wasn’t the case this morning. The sun nearly ripped through my bedroom blinds. I ran downstairs, grabbed coffee, and wanted to take a picture of the sea that sparkled like a diamond wholesaler had spilled years’ worth of trade on the waters.

I go to turn on my phone:  black screen. I hit the off/on. Still black.

My current phone is inhabited by digi-demons. It shifts apps from page to page. Opens apps that I didn’t select. Changes audio settings, and once before, it had gone black. Not entirely black because I can see a faint image of the home screen — looking like someone coated it in coal dust.

Fifteen minutes later, after putting on my reading glasses to see through the coal dust more clearly, hitting settings by memory, finding the display setting (which had turned itself to dark), I had my phone functioning. Luckily, the water still sparkled. The sun slung low rays for candescent lighting. I took a photo.

I briefly thought that maybe I would try to wake up extra early tomorrow to catch the sun rising over the watery horizon.

I’ve done sunrise chasing at our Maine vacation place. The first time there was a life lesson.

Daughter Abi, who agreed to wake up at 5 a.m. and I stood in the dark on the Ocean Park beach, cameras ready. At the time we both were using digital cameras.


The sun announced itself in a scarlet arc. Rising fast.

Then it happened. Abi was out of memory space on her camera. I was out of battery. Cursing, her trying to delete files quickly; me giving up. I realized that we were missing what we set out to do. I wanted to stand in the magnificence of the great ball of fire starting our day.  We almost missed it.

There was a photo today (see proof). There was none on that Maine morning years ago. We did repeat the exercise years later — neither of us are fans of rising before light while on vacation.

Today, I muttered. Then I stopped. Took a breath.

Be the sunrise. I told myself. That is what you want.

Be the sunrise. 


BF photograph


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