by Nancy McDaniel

I never realized before how much the sunrise is like the sweetest, most complete act of making love. But you have to be up early to see it from the very beginning to experience the whole, perfect joyous beauty of it.

The Indigo Night Sky
It starts so softly, so gently, so subtly that if you had never experienced it before, you would not know the exquisite promise that it holds. The colors are the preamble. And words can barely capture its hopeful beauty. On the horizon, the shared layer held close is the softest gold, while above it, holding it down in a gentle caress, is a deep indigo blue, the color of night saying farewell. The gold spreads wide, almost as if the warmth trapped below was trying to escape, trying to make its presence known. It spreads wider and begins to rise, with agonizing slowness. It teases the sky, rising with its nearly imperceptible movement.

The colors begin to change, ever so slowly. The pace is so excruciatingly slow that I ache for it to move faster, to reveal the promise, the conclusion, yes, the climax. But it’s as if the sun goddess is telling me to be patient in this pleasure. It will ultimately arrive, as it always does. And it will be worth waiting for.

Transition Time
The gold dissipates and begins to change to orange, which spreads wider. The night blue begins to fade and to morph into a paler blue. This is the part that seems to take forever. Tantalizing with its promise, ebbing and flowing, with endless plateaus. It cannot be boring because it is so beautiful. But it is a calm transition period. It is slow and easy, a break from the intensity preceding it and that which will surely follow.

It seems as though time has stood still. For a long time, the change in the sky is nearly imperceptible. I keep looking to see if I’ve missed anything, to look for small clues as to what will follow. I see none. I turn away for a moment, but I can’t give up. It will come. It can’t be held back. It will be here soon.

The Fire Burns
And then, the very tip of the fire red sun begins to emerge from its long buried space, just as it always does. And its rise is inexorable and as steady and slow as it can possibly be (except at the Equator, where I have also experienced the sunrise. There it is up and finished in an instant. It is over. The waiting takes much less time. I momentarily wonder what this means, if anything.)

The sun exquisitely rises with no way to stop it, even if I wanted to. I know exactly where it is going, how it will progress. The predictability of it cannot diminish the joy of experiencing it. Neither can the short time it lasts. It is still full of beauty and remarkable changes and subtleties, preceded by teasing colors and the sky’s caresses.

It’s Over So Soon
And then it’s over. The risen sun burns brightly in the sky but the colors are paler. The sky is a less intense blue, the sun a white-hot sphere, but without the fire it just had. The earlier intensity of the colors cannot be sustained. It was just 45 minutes from the indigo blue and the soft gold until now. It is over. It is time to get on with the business of the day.

But it will happen again. Helios will reawaken and the exquisite melding, the transformation will begin again. Just as a lover’s touch will ignite all the colors and the passion as it moves so excruciatingly slowly to its foregone conclusion. Everyday.