Finding the Sunrise and Doing the Unexpected

November 5, 2013 By Tom

Garden of the Gods at sunrise. Incredible.

I was telling a friend the other day how one of my usual goals when I travel someplace beautiful is to catch the sunrise one morning when I’m there. Everyone always raves about the sunset, but the sunrise always seems to be forgotten about.  Now, this doesn’t mean I make it a quest to stay up and party all night and retire to bed as the sun rises (though that has happened).  Instead it’s more like making the conscious effort to take in the view of something much bigger than myself and much bigger than the relationship that brings me to wherever exotic destination I stand in.  It’s the moment, it’s that anticipation, it’s that wondering of what it will look like, a moment of typical peace and wondering what the sunrise will bring with it.

There is some chick flick/romantic comedy that talks about when at a wedding, everyone looks at the bride as she comes down the aisle but this character always looks at the groom.  I was best man in Rockville’s wedding last month and unconsciously found myself doing exactly this.  The second his bride appeared at the other end of the aisle he couldn’t hold back the tears, that anticipation and wonderment of what that moment would feel like was finally there and it overwhelmed him.  It was actually awesome to see, and I found myself reaching for a tissue in my own pocket–he found beauty “in the sunrise” and he couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the “day” would bring with his new wife.

the road into Garden of the Gods right as the sun came up

I had the chance back in September to share my quest for sunrise beauty with a good friend whom I traveled with to Colorado Springs .  In full disclosure, we had been up till 4 AM, got 90 minutes of sleep and he thought I was crazy when I got him out of bed at 5:30 AM to drive a half hour to Garden of the Gods just as the sun crested.  It was beautiful and was the first time I’ve actually made it out to Garden of the Gods for sunrise–totally worth the effort and was pretty neat to see him transform from complaining about it being early to wanting to hike a bit and enjoy the cup of coffee we each had while watching the colors continuously change on the rock walls.

don’t get me wrong, I love a good St. Lucia like sunset as well.

Normally I’m known to book whole vacations two weeks before the targeted departure date.  I made an exception though for once, in an effort to give myself something to signal the different type of holiday season this year–I’m going out to Southern California for a few days between Christmas and New Years; thanks to having just enough frequent flyer miles to get there and back.  It’s a trip I’m genuinely excited about as I’ve never been to Santa Monica.  It’s been a few years since I’ve been to SoCal and I’ll be back in time for New Years Eve here in Indianapolis.

I’m looking forward to seeing the sunrise, and of course the sunset over the ocean while out there.  I can already hear the waves, feel the sand between my toes and feel the sun on my skin.  I have already Google Mapped the best spots to run from where I’m staying and have been told there is a laundry list of places that are must-do’s when out there.  And, this trip being booked hit my self-imposed promise that I would do something random and a little unexpected before the end of the year.  I cut it close in terms of getting it done before New Years Eve, but I’m excited to make it happen.

Cheers and California Dreamin’,

-th