“It is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.”
– Mary Oliver, Invitation
I woke up twenty minutes before the 4:30 wake-up call and contemplated skipping the planned sunrise hike. But I wouldn’t skip an early morning business flight, so why skip on this? With no good answer I got up and dressed in the dark.
Driving an hour, it stuck me how many people were already up. Cars lined up at a traffic light heading to some job or other, while I drove the opposite way. I had work to do today as well. But first this. Arriving at the access road, I read the sign informing me the gate wouldn’t be open until 7 AM. I was the only car in the lot next to the gate to start this sunrise trek. Others would follow soon enough.
I geared up and started hiking the half mile up the road. Hard to even call it a hike… a brisk walk up the hill? Semantics don’t matter, the destination did. It was already brightening enough that I could slip my headlamp into my coat pocket. This walk would be just enough to warm my core for the cold breeze at the summit.
Mount Agamenticus is an old mountain, worn down by time. It’s more of a hill now at 692 feet, but does have a prominence of 522 feet. But 220 million years ago it was part of a 20,000 foot tall volcano. They say it was once part of Africa. Now you look out and see the Atlantic Ocean and a long way to the continents that were once joined. A lot can happen in 220 million years; continents shift, mountains erode, people come and go. That’s what? Eight billion sunrises? For the sun and for this mountain it was one more in a long string of greeting each other.
This morning it was my turn in a long succession of people standing atop this old volcano gazing out at the sun rising to begin another day. Billions of sunrises and this morning I got to share the reunion between the mountain, the ocean and the sun. And it was indeed a serious thing just to be alive to see it.