watching the sunrise

city flower

It’s been two weeks since I’ve written in this place and in the moments that have passed between then and now, I’ve gotten married. It seems fitting that this be an essay that includes a little bit of romance. When James, my husband, and I first began dating, we were interns on an island off the coast of southern Georgia. James was working on a sea turtle conservation project and one of his daily tasks was to survey the beach at dawn for nests that had been laid overnight. Every morning of that summer he started up a finicky golf cart and rode along the beach, searching for turtle tracks as he went. On more than one morning, I went along for the ride. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes and trying hard not to think about the full-day of work I had ahead of me, I would climb into the cart next to him. Moments when we came across newly laid nests had their own kind of magic, but it was the sunrises that really got me out of bed.

On one morning, another intern came along with us. She was less than enthusiastic about the early hours and when James exclaimed over the rising sun she turned to him and said,

“You’ve seen one sunrise, you’ve seen them all.”

In his typical style, James met her grumpiness with his own brand of unrelenting cheer. Grinning, he replied, simply, “I don’t think so.” Love is a tricky thing---and recognizing it can be more difficult than fairy tales would have us believe---but if there’s one moment when I realized I loved James, it’s that one. It’s a risky story to tell. Stories about watching the sun rise anywhere, let alone on remote beaches, can slide quickly into the realm of Hallmark greeting cards and can make even a hopeless romantic cringe. But the truth remains: I couldn’t help loving a man that appreciated a good sunrise.

We’ve just returned from a few days away on an island at a significantly more northern latitude. A minimoon, we’ve been calling it. Each morning that we were away we woke up to watch the sunrise. Just the two of us and the egrets and the reflection of the sun on the water.

We’re back in the city now and with a new challenge to wake up to watch the sunrise, at least sometimes.

Photo by sunrise-enthusiast, James Casey.