Okay, sure -- I have seen a sunrise. But not because I've actually wanted to. It's been more like, "Oh no... What time is it? Oh, UGH." You know those times: staying up too late writing papers (only to hand them in at ten a.m and falling asleep in class); staying up all night studying for the final (only to go to class at ten a.m. and blowing the test because you haven't slept and all you ate was pizza or crackers); staying up too late drinking with friends and when the sky gets light and the light less flattering everyone looks greasy and exhausted and you feel like you've been chewing on a wool blanket (but OMG, that was like, so much fun!)... But I'll admit, the more recent sunrises I've seen have been either because of insomnia or having to get up and get to the airport to catch an ungodly early flight. (That's what happens when you get old, I suppose. Though the other sunrises weren't that long ago.)
So basically, I know they're beautiful and miraculous and everything, but I don't exactly go out of my way to see them. Things that require me to get out of bed early had better be Really Important and involving gifts or keeping my job. Now sunsets -- sunsets are glorious things and I don't have to make too much effort to see those. Those happen when I'm already awake. And living in California, we get such amazing sunsets. One of the most perfect moments of my life was standing up at Coit Tower, and watching the sun set beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. And I hadn't even meant to go there to do it -- it was just one of those lucky right time/ right place miracles. Ohh, California. You're broke and a mess and on fire right now, but I love you so.
But a few weeks ago, we left the Golden State and ventured to Oklahoma. Now, let me beat you to it:
And yes, this song was in my head the ENTIRE time.
Jon's mom bought two houses there -- one in a small town called Hollis, four miles from the Texas border, and another on a lake in a town called Lone Wolf. I wasn't sure what to expect -- I'm used to going to New York or Chicago or somewhere that's GO GO GO, not small little towns where the population is smaller than the number of my facebook friends.
But I have to say -- I loved it. It was so relaxing, the opposite of go go go -- exactly the kind of vacation I needed. It was hot, and yes, the wind totally swept down the plain, though I didn't see any wheat. (We saw lots of cotton.) The sky just seems so much bigger, so much bluer, and with so many more stars. And the lake was gorgeous, with red sand and rocks.
When Jon's mom and everyone left the lake house to go back to Hollis, Jon and I stayed up there for two days and just relaxed. And one morning we woke up when it was still dark outside and walked down to the lake for this Accomplishment.
And I must say, it was amazing.
from the front deck of the lake house
walking to the beach
It was awe-inspiring. The colors were so vibrant, and the stillness, with just the sound of waves lapping, felt -- I don't know, sincere somehow. Clean, the way a new day should feel. In the past I dreaded the sunrise -- it meant an end to secretive nighttime hours where everything would be exposed -- my lack of preparation and good judgment, an end to fun and the start of paying for it, the hassle of a journey and responsibilities. But as we stood there and watched it happen, with nothing to do but take it all in, I recognized how much I've missed by not watching them more often and feeling that sense of calm and the miracle that this happens every day. (Who knew?) Sometimes it's easy to forget how amazing nature is when you're surrounded by a city. In the 2 weeks since that sunrise, I've mentally gone back there and just let myself be in the moment.
But when the moment was actually happening, it started to sprinkle and I found Jon's sunglasses that he'd left on the beach the day before and I took a picture of nature's cruelty:
Poor, poor fish.
Thus inspired by the early hour, we actually didn't go back to bed and wound up driving around Oklahoma which was AWESOME and I got to do something I've always wanted to do:
Got my kicks on Route 66!
So for the first time, I watched the sunrise and got it, not dreaded it. I learned to just stop and think a little bit, and just be in that moment. (Until I see a dead fish on a rock and have to squeal and take a picture.) And that, ladies and gentlemen, really is an Accomplishment.
And that Rogers & Hammerstein totally weren't kidding:
Thirty-six down, 61 to go.