Waking up for Sunrise

Today I am waking up for the sunrise.

Sunrise is a technicality and a pedant can point out it is not the sun that is rising, it is the earth that is spinning. This is an illusion I am fine with. There is a lot of mythology around the rising of the sun, but I’m not familiar with most of it. I’ve not explored my feelings watching this ball of fire creep above the horizon, or, ideally, a range of mountains. It is an aesthetic joy to watch the growing alpenglow, the shadows stretching out. I’m not ready complicate it with meaning.

It is Spring and the sun is rising earlier every day, as it does from the winter to summer solstice. Soon it will be rising early enough to challenge my ability to be up and out. There is a limit to my pursuit of aesthetics.

So while I am still able, I rise in the dark and get up and out the door, down Ballard Avenue to the Burke Gilman Trail to the Fremont Bridge, and up into Queen Anne as the lapis lazuli twilit sky brightens to an orange red glow at the line of the horizon.

Time lapse of a bike ride at dawn from Ballard to upper Queen Anne.

I arrive, the only one here. On Friday there were a half-dozen of us.

It is quiet, only the sounds of the morning birds and the traffic humming white noise below on Highway 99. A moment of serenity catches me off guard; I notice it, and it is over. I was planning on recording a timelapse of the sunrise, but now I want to record these moments in real time, so maybe later I can watch it back and recapture what I felt fleetingly just a moment ago.

Real time video of the sun rising over Lake Union

The Sun rises. Nothing else happens. For long periods it could be a still life. The clouds don’t move, nor do the leaves on the trees and bushes stir. The water is still on the surface of Lake Union. The traffic in the distance on the I-5 bridge is the only thing faintly moving. There is just the white noise of traffic passing below on Highway 99, birdsong, my feet crunching in the gravel, I sniffle in the morning chill. The shutter clicks rapidly as I try to capture the exact best moment. The vain futility of that thought hits me, as does the fact that since I am using a mirrorless camera rather than a DSLR, I am watching a screen, a virtual reality of what is right in front of me, rather than the reflected light of the world it flipped upside down, and then back right side up again.

There is no determinate point at which a sunrise is over. After the sun has cleared the mountains, and the sky light scatters into blue, a boat rounds the stumpy protuberance of Gasworks Park, trailing a wake that broadens across the fading gold light on the waters.

Best to pack up now and head out before the day.

Time-lapse of sun rise over the Cascade Mountains and setting over the cloud shrouded Olympics,

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