“Sunrise (or Sun up) is the moment when the upper limb of the sun appears on the horizon in the morning. The term can also refer to the entire process of the solar disk crossing the horizon and its accompanying atmospheric events.” Wikipedia

Around March 23rd, as we were sheltering in place at Saint Simons Island, Georgia, the beaches shut down.

It was a big disappointment. Cases of Covid-19 were increasing in the country and in every state. Spring Break was in full swing with beaches in Florida crowded with sun worshippers and party-goers. The authorities were unable to control the behavior of the crowd and so they pulled the plug. Party over.

The Glynn, Georgia, county commissioners saw the handwriting on the wall and it said, “Party moving north”. Unable to regulate or to accommodate the breakers, they moved to lock down the attraction and deter the crowds. It was draconian and it worked. Sheriffs on ATVs patrolled the water’s edge and all public access ways were barred. Big electronic signs went up along the major highways and at the entrance to the causeway leading to Saint Simon's Island. Beaches Closed.

We could and did walk near the ocean. We could see it, smell it and hear it. Better than nothing, we told each other.

On the second early morning after the closure, at around 5 am, I proposed that we should go see the sunrise. From our friend William’s porch that faced the ocean. We took our dog Cricket and a flashlight and waited for something to happen. It was a long and slow wait. First, there was nautical dawn, then dawn itself and finally the big event - Sunrise. There was something so awe-inspiring about being present for the daily miracle. It seemed to put the pandemic into some kind of psychologically manageable perspective. The sunrise was affirming, it was predictable, reassuringly “normal” and so very beautiful.

IMG 2226So- we adopted a new practice. Got better at it. Looked up what time the sun would rise each morning and got there just in time for the big event. And it was so dramatic,  always different and never disappointing. Sometimes almost hallucinogenic. The colors were dazzling, there were platoons of brown pelicans that arrived every morning with the event, the tide changed, the moon waxed and waned, and it was quiet enough to hear the waves, to hear the planet breathe.

We took our practice north when we left Georgia for Massachusetts. Had to trade our flip flops for boots. Had to put our heavy sweatshirts and jackets back on, but it’s worth the effort.  We have found two very good spots locally where we can bear witness to the daily miracle. There are robins, not pelicans, and the drama factor is slightly lower. But it seems important to honor the opportunity -   another day, another chance, another sunrise.