I woke up to the sound of my young son crying in bed. He had a nightmare of a muskrat chasing him and taking bitesize nips out of his heels as he ran. I got him up, out of bed and made a little nest for him on the couch next to my computer where I had logged on and began to write this.
At one point he asked if he could turn lights off (it was 04:45 and pitch dark outside). I asked him why he wanted the lights off so he explained that he wanted to "watch the sun rise." My son often gets up real early and apparently enjoys watching the way the light gets brighter in the house as night becomes day.
I had been doing my writing thing on the computer for almost an hour, when looking up I noticed the clock and thought that time seemed to be hanging heavy on my living room wall -- but destiny and the pending dawn would soon take care of that.
I remembered a spot down by the ocean, on Campus Point, where there is a wooden stairway descending from the clifftops to the sand in southeastern orientation -- a place of sanctuary where I once watched the dawn. I took a look at my son wrapped in a bundle on the couch, waiting to detect sunrise by the color changes on the walls of the room and I thought of the magnificence of the sunrise bursting over the mountains as viewed from the beach.
"Hey Munchkin-Man! Go get your clothes on, we're going for a ride," I barked. It was 05:40 and my tidechart called for sunrise to be at 05:49. My boy had never before seen the real sunrise in its full radiant glory because we live in a little tract house in an area where the actual sun rise is obscured by buildings and trees, but today we would race the sun to the beach to greet it's arrival.
We threw our clothes on, jumped into the car and went off recklessly careening through quiet neighborhoods at 60mph all in an attempt to be in the right spot in time to see the sun pop over the hill so my son could see sunrise for the first time in his life. Screaming down the last straightaway and into the dirt lot by the Marine Science Lab, breaking in a cloud of dust, father and son have beaten the sun to the beach, it's 05:48.
It's an outgoing medium high tide with tiny wavelets smooshing against the sand in the oceanic percussion of infinity.
Time has stopped, or at least is the same as it's always been.
Hmmm...no sun at the ridge yet.
We sit and wait. We talk awhile, his 7 year old eyes wide and wild, of the times before he was born when I used to come out alone to watch the sunrise.
(05:50...05:52...05:55 Hey man, where's the goddam sun? The idiotic tide chart must be wrong)
Neolithic pelicans glide low over the mirror plate of the sea only to suddenly dive into its surface, breaking the gloss with concentric ripples.
Smooshhhhh! The waves with precambrian resonance, inject their sound into the background of my mind.
Morning ochre colors dance on sandstone cliffs hidden behind dangling pampas grass ribbons. I _know_ this is better than living room walls.
There is one boat anchored quietly in the cove we overlook. My boy talks of the time when we will have our boat and places he wants to visit.
"Papa! Where's the sun?" asks my boy. "It's hiding behind that mountain, buddy." Just then FLASH, razor bright, the first beam breaks over the hill in blaring, raging Devonian intensity.
It's late but it's the same as it ever was...
With that I got up and turned off the lights in my living room like my son had first asked. Then I walked over and curled up with him on the couch and waited for first-light to illuminate our livingroom walls.
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