Your life is not complete until you sleep outside and wake early to watch the sky slowly fill with the light of dawn. My life is now complete. So don’t be surprised if you hear news that I recently died in my sleep, with a smile on my face.

😉 Just joking! But last night I did borrow (aka steal) a friend’s sleeping bag and stake out a bench outside of the visitor center for a one-night bed. The moon was waxing and not quite full, but gave just enough light to write by. I choose the side of the building that faces the Tatoosh Range, since I would be able to see the light of dawn better there – and there seemed to be a warm pocket of air on that side. 🙂

Staring at the stars, it’s an odd thought to think of how they’ve stayed the same for so many years. (Yes, slightly changed, but overall…) How poets and travelers and homeless and lovers and writers and rulers and people from all centuries, wearing sweatshirts, robes, hooped skirts, suits, armor, kimonos… have sat and watched the same stars, with much the same thoughts and questions of life in their mind…

It’s an odd thought.

A fox came snuffling by and sat blinking at me about six feet away for a while, as if wondering “what are you doing here?”, before disappearing back into the darkness.

I liberally sprayed myself all over with bug spray – in the past week the mosquitoes have turned me riddled with bites and as twitchy as a man pursued by ax murderers. Fortunately they didn’t bother me this night. 🙂

I thank God for my young body, which can hike and work hard and sleep on hard wooden benches, with minimal soreness the next day. I know that this limberness (and yes I looked it up and that’s a word 🙂 ) will not last long – so I enjoy it now while I can.

I woke by an alarm at 5:30 the next morning, and was at first confused as to why I had set the alarm so early, since it was still dark. I could see Orion just above Pinnacle Peak, and another, brighter star above it to the west – I wish I knew which one it was?

But looking to the east I could tell there was the faintest of lights growing above the hill.

The sky when I woke - 5:42am

It’s amazing how much the sky changes in but a few short minutes. I moved down to the stone wall on the loop road and watched as the sky turned lighter and lighter, from black to a light, pearly blue.

6:06 am

6:25 am

I gave up on my camera in frustration several times, since it couldn’t capture the colors and beauty my eyes saw. But then I would look away from the sky for a few moments and look back, and try again to take a picture capturing what I saw.

That’s one of the neat things about life, I suppose. No matter how much we try to coax our machines to capture the intricacy and colors and wonder of a moment, they fall short every time to our senses. We can only enjoy something to the fullest as we are living it. It makes me wish my memory were a hundred times better. I’m hoping for replays in heaven. 🙂

The sun deciding to be lackadaisical and off schedule (okay maybe it just felt like the sun was late in rising 😉 ), eventually I stood to stretch my legs and wandered back up to the visitor center, where I took some pictures of the sunlight from the invisible sun playing across Rainier the Mountain.

7:00 am

Having watched the sky slowly lighten for an hour by now, I had plenty of time to ponder whether or not today would be the day the sun would choose to break its own tradition and not rise. (Although what’s the meaning of “not rising”? I suppose that’s really the earth “not revolving”)

Like the stars in the night sky, the sunrise tells a story of constancy. For thousands of years, the sun has not ceased to warm the earth from the precise distance required to maintain life. The battle between the dark and the light, the delicate balance that results and that has not changed once (barring Joshua 10), is in itself either proof of a remarkable and coincidental machine, set ticking and now dangling in the emptiness of space, or of a God that does not remove His hand of protection from our world, but watches over every detail from the rising of the sun, to a bee setting wing, to the tide rising and falling.

I also thought of the story “The Day Boy and the Night Girl (The Romance of Photogen and Nycteris)” by George MacDonald.

And watched the horizon.


7:08 am

As surely as the sun will rise...

...You'll come to us

...Certain as the dawn appears

"Get out of bed, Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God's bright glory has risen for you. The whole earth is wrapped in darkness, all people sunk in deep darkness, But God rises on you, his sunrise glory breaks over you." - Isaiah 60, The Message

It is a marvelous thing to wait and watch for the sun, wondering if it will arrive, and feeling a great sense of gladness when it does.

I felt almost proud of the sun, as if I had helped it up, like a child's parent cheering them on. Yeah, sun, you did it! 🙂

And with the transition from darkness to light complete and the world set at rights again, I set off back to my bed and a shower. After snapping a few more pictures.

Can you believe this miracle happens every day?