My friend Liz lives just a few blocks away, and like me, she enjoys Crofton’s beautiful sunrises which she glimpses through her kitchen window. Sunday morning was such a sunrise, and she emailed me to ask if I had seen it. At the end of the email she noted that I don’t post sunrise photos on the blog anymore, and teasingly suggested I was “getting really lazy.”
It’s true. I had not done a sunrise walk for a long time. When Oliver and Belle were alive, sheltie mornings began at 5:30, with walks at sunrise. But since their deaths, and the departure of foster dog Lucy and the pups, I only have lazy bones for dogs, no early risers. Allie, the cat who sleeps on my bed, gets up around 7:00 every morning, and then wakes Charley who tap dances on the six inches of laminate between the hall runner and my bedroom door, until I crawl out of bed, let her out for a pee, put on the coffee and struggle to rejoin the world. By then sunrise is over.
But the cat obviously read Liz’s email, and took it upon herself to ensure that “lazy” would never be an accurate descriptor of the woman who feeds her, grooms her, and grows her catnip. Monday morning, after weeks of getting up around 7, Allie decided to rise at 6:00. Charley and Sadie were not to be budged, so she rattled the bifold door of the linen closet in the hallway next to my bedroom – her trick to force me out of bed when the dogs won’t cooperate. "Wake up, mama, wake up!" When a tortie cat says it’s time to get up, it’s time to get up, even if two old dogs don’t think so.
By 6:45 I had downed my first couple of cups of coffee, showered, and pulled on some clothes. I let the dogs out to go pee and noticed the first line of red peeking over Salt Spring Island to the east.
Thinking back to Liz’s email of the previous morning, and with just a touch of the "I'll show her!" attitude, I grabbed a warm jacket and the dogs’ leashes, and we headed for the beach.
Sadie was not impressed. As we headed down the driveway, she kept turning her head back to the house. "Mom, wait! Wait! You didn’t feed us yet! "
But sunrises wait for no one, and a few minutes later we reached the marina and the start of the seawalk to find the bay and the sky already flooded with colour, and the vacant house was afire with sunrise reflections.
As we wandered along the seawalk and down to the beach, I snapped away at the changing view, as the narrow band of red turned to a sea and sky of crimson and gold.
We had the beach to ourselves – no other walkers shared our moment, though back at the docks the morning commute to and from Salt Spring via the ferry had begun, and from further still, the metallic clank of ships loading their cargo at the mill could be heard. But on our little patch of sand and stone and water, we were alone with the fiery gem of sunrise, alone with the gulls and the ducks, who swam in rose-coloured waters against a red velvet sky. Red faded to pink, gold to yellow, and slowly the bay turned blue.
And then it was over. The sunrise kaleidoscope ended, and daylight flooded the bay under a clear blue sky.
One hour, 120 photos and ten frozen fingers later, we began the wander back.
Sadie did entertain having a seafood breakfast,
but the liver treats in my pocket were enough to entice her away. On the seawalk, I chanced to look down to the beach below and to my surprise saw a face looking back – a large rock on which someone had carved a face. It was not there before - where did it come from and who was the artist?
And then another surprise – though the sunrise to the south east had faded, I glanced across the bay to the north east, and there saw the mainland’s north shore mountains now awash with gold and pink as the rising sun topped the island and struck the snow further afield. Two sunrises on one morning.
We watched until the mountains were white once again, and then returned home for another cup of coffee for me and a warm breakfast for all. As I sipped my coffee, I checked my email – and laughed to see another message from Liz. Had I seen this morning’s red sky?
I didn’t just see it. I experienced it. I was sucked into its vortex. I was one with it, and it was magical.
I have missed those magic moments. Lazy, easy-care dogs or not, it is time to start getting up earlier and going for sunrise walks. They soothe the soul and start the day off right.
And perhaps some morning soon my friend Liz will join me on the beach at sunrise?