3 reasons you need to see the sunrise tomorrow
and how it will change your life
One of my favorite scents is that of the ocean. Not on a sunny day when the wind is strong. At dawn or dusk when everything holds it breath. Then you can smell the sea, the true sea, and get a glimpse of what Earth smelled like when we were amoebas crawling in the ooze. At least that is my own theory and I think I am correct. That salty organic scent which some would call odor. It has some layers of decomposition to it, and of birth and life too.
It is a perfume that has lasted millions and millions of years. When I lived in Los Angeles I would hike in the Santa Monica mountains, high above the Pacific Ocean. There the ocean spray would mix with sage and creosote other chaparral vegetation. It formed my favorite scent ever, and if I could bottle it I would.
During my last years in California I must have walked hundreds if not thousands of miles on trails near the ocean. Always near the ocean. Do you miss anything to the point that it causes a physical tearing feeling in your chest? That’s why I only allow myself to think of California’s nature sparingly. It was magical. Now I seek another chapter of it here in Florida.
So I do something I didn’t do in California, at least not regularly. I chase sunrises. And besides, the sunrises aren’t over the ocean in California. Florida offers both sunrises and sunset over the ocean, depending on which coast you’re standing - the Atlantic or the Gulf.
Yes, I’m sure you’ve read advise columns and bucket lists that orders you to go watch a sunrise at least once in your life. I am no different. I order you to do so at your earliest opportunity. Which is tomorrow morning. It’s important for many reasons. I’ll try to share three, though your reasons might appear to you once you’re standing there waiting for your sun to rise. Tomorrow. Remember.
This is a picture of the sun rising this morning at 7 a.m. local Florida time. Everything is still. The ocean is metallic. I am almost alone on the beach. There are shells and coral pieces that have washed ashore. Fishing boats are hurrying out but the sounds are subdued. And then there is the scent. The organic breeze. The breath of waves. Everything beneath the water that gives off gases that have made it up to the surface and now reaches my nostrils.
This is the first reason for watching a sunrise. To stand and breathe by the ocean or forest or field or parking lot and fill your lungs with still morning air. Air and light that hasn’t been used up yet. This is only for you. Breathe and be there. But mostly breathe and try to pick up scents you have been to busy to pay attention to.
The second reason is that you need time to be alone in nature. Completely alone. Of course, go with someone if you feel like it, but walk or stand in silence. I go by myself as it is a gift to myself. When you are alone you are more alert. You hear better. You see better. And you can, as they would say, commune with nature. You have tried this, you say? And it didn’t work? Yes, I know.
It takes time to calm down our brains. We’re not used to being quiet with ourselves. It’s unsettling unless you take the plunge and go through it. When I used to walk along trails in California it would take me 35-40 minutes to stop recycling thoughts of worry, and calm would set in. Forget about wearing headphones. Leave those things in your pocket. Your ears should be available to listen to nature and the now.
Notice small phenomena, like animals or plants you’ve never noticed before. Or how the sunlight increases noticeably with almost every second that passes. And it makes you wonder about the Earth and how somewhere it is evening now. All under the same sun. You can observe how those rays you drew around the sun in your childhood drawings are real. If you, like I do, enjoy taking photos — take them on your way back. The way “there” is only for you and your eyes.
What is the third reason you need to wake up before sunrise tomorrow? Not every day of course, unless you wish to, but at least tomorrow. Because you won’t be around forever. Life, you know, is finite here on Earth. And you need a bit of a shaking up. You’re tired? Exhausted? Depressed? Too busy? Hate the idea? All these are further reasons you must set your alarm to wake you up before sunrise tomorrow.
Trust this stranger and give yourself a gift no one else can ever give you. There, somewhere, you will get a tiny tiny glimpse of the universe and you. You got this one ticket, right, so why not enjoy the whole ride?
Oh, and please report back here how it went! I want to hear all your sunrise stories and reflections! Did you hate it, love it, accept it or fight it? Share a link to your Instagram or Twitter if you took photos!
You can see all my sunrise stories on Instagram every Saturday morning. Now, go set your alarm!