I watched a sunrise this morning.
Not all the way through though, and in some ways it is cheating to call it a sunrise because the sun wasn't actually above the horizon. Just the begining glow. We had the red to pink glow underlighting the clouds near the point where the sun would rise and a most spectacular faint green colour that faded gently to a royal blue and then away to a grey. Quite beautiful and I wished that I had a camera and the time to watch it the whole way through.
Never have done that, yet. And on this occasion I couldn't because I was heading to work. Indeed the only reason I could watch it at all was because my father was driving. Now there is a man who it is vaguely pointless trying to share something like a sunrise with. To be clear from the start I don't like my father, I may share a degree of gene coding and some personality traits with him but we are way apart when it comes to most everything else.
He is dour, humourless (or more accurately his sense of humour simply isn't funny and, thankfully, very rarely exercised.) and in general a fairly unpleasant person to have as a family member. The curious paradox of it all is that for people outside the family he acts completely differently.
Suffice to say that sharing the beauty and wonder of a sunrise is not something I would consider doing with him.
But as I was saying I never have simply watched a sunrise from start to finish. It often is touted as being the thing to do for romance, which in some ways belittles the majesty of it all as the common colloquial seems to like equating such romance with finding a 'good bonking spot'. Why do we need to seek such a spot out for purely romance? Can't people just get lost in the wonder and joy of witnessing that and just being alive? Being of firm enough health and good enough eyesight to see it unfold?
The reasons why I haven't done precisely what I, almost rhetorically, ask are manifold and mostly petty. Like today it was work. In the weekends I like to sleep in, I consider that more important. And when I was younger I never had the opportunity to do such things because I was too pre-occupied with other things that were more important, like breakfast.
But now, the opportunity is there and I don't take it.
It would be very easy to do, if a little cold at the moment. Where I live is near the top of a hill, officially labled a mountain for unclear reasons, and a short three minute slow walk takes me to the ridge of the hill where I have a stunning view out to the east, overlooking the airport and harbour heads. Even the cold isn't too much of a problem, warm clothing cures that.
Or I could take a slightly longer walk and go up to the top of the mountain and sit underneath the radio masts there and watch. It would be more private if privacy is what is required.
I am labouring the point a bit I know. It just strikes me as important that we don't occasionaly do something like that. We rate it so low that I wonder how many people die without ever seeing a sunrise - simply because they either took it for granted or they kept putting off doing it. It seems such a waste when it would have taken at most half an hour of their time.
This all comes to mind because within a few days it will be the second time I remember and mourn for a friend. Mostly of course I grieve for myself, grief is an inherently selfish process. But I can't help but wonder whether this friend saw a sunrise. Even if they did they won't see the sunrises I see now. And thats the important bit, each day is a special one for those of us left alive.
So, gentle reader, if you see me heading off at an early hour for the top of the hill, or I see you heading in the same direction, let neither of us be surprised.
Philip R. Banks