Awakened at 4:05 AM, streetlights outside my window, my meditation chair awaits. Instead I feel a sudden call to pack up towel, chair, sweatshirt and put my bathing suit on to watch sunrise at the Jersey Shore fifty miles away.
I love experiencing the long process of the sunrise. It has been too long and I am starved for the sacred nurturing of the light to begin my day. I have found and watched sunrise in the many places I have lived or visited over the globe. The breaking colors of dawn are a sacred surprise each morning, over water or land.
The drive is easy and quick with few cars on the Garden State Parkway, the main road to the Jersey Shore. Being a Saturday in August, in a few hours it will be packed.
The signs for exits and such are not easy to see in the morning dark. No worries, I know where I am going, and just have to slow down ten miles per hour occasionally for construction zones. I do not want the colorful shining police lights to abort my adventure.
As I arrive I am greeted with a deep magenta color backlighting the sky. Over an hour before sunrise I see how the movement of the sun is beginning to affect the horizon and the sky above.
One thing I have gotten used to in living in New Jersey for most all of my life is our proximity to the ocean. There is something magical and important knowing that the edge of the continent, and the ocean water is so close to home. To look out and see forever has a freedom that being inland does not. Some people might not even notice or feel this way, and yet many of us do.
I park across the street from the beach in a readily available free parking spot so I do not have to think about quarters and tickets. Dunkin Donuts close by is the only restroom at this time of the morning and close to my choice of beach location.
Moment by moment it is a light show with blues, grey, white, yellow, purples and pink colors affecting the layers of puffy clouds of all shapes and sizes above the ocean. No sunny gold, yet.
Moment by moment the skies change, the birds squawk and enjoy tidbits from the sea. A few people walk the sand as the tide comes in. More people walk and run on the boardwalk with their music in their ears to block out the morning sounds- something I never understood. I love being present to all of it.
I sit and find the perfect spot to welcome the sun. Clouds offer cover, and color in the skies, and interest to the scene making the anticipation even greater. Where will she rise? I am one of the few who see the sun as she.
There she is a bright light backlighting before you see her glorious face. She peeks out and then her powerful shining light cannot be masked.
I hear the song, sung in full Beatles harmony, by George Harrison, “Here Comes The Sun.” as the glorious rays and ball of light comes up over the horizon line. I am snapping photos to catch each moment, like a new mother taking pictures of her baby and child as she/he grows.
Ahhh. A new day is born and somehow, I am reborn. Grateful to be witness to this magical spectacle and relieved and peace filled ready to walk the beach meditate and enjoy this new day.
LIFE IS A BEACH
Swimming in 77 degree water and matching air is divine. Gentle swells rock and roll me and massage me. Floating, swimming and playing in the waves nurture me. Delicious.
I walk the beach to the end of the land where boats are coming out of the bay. Suddenly I hear a familiar call and in surprise I see two swans flying over the fishing dock welcoming me.
Swans call to me in many places, usually over or near lakes, so I was surprised to see two flying over the beach next to the ocean, saying hello and welcome.
I leave as the town begins to fill and drive north watching all of the traffic bumper-to-bumper going in the opposite direction. The last weekends of summer, people will want to get the last days and rays of summer at the shore in. Still not the crowds of earlier in the summer, but I missed those.
MORE TO COME
After this experience, I made this a semi weekly ritual and later a weekly ritual arriving a half-hour before sunrise-quite early at first, swimming if a calm sea, and leaving in a few hours or a full day.
I take lots of pictures finding beauty in each shot, sometimes adding rock jetty, bird, fisherman or surfer.
The following weeks found the water filled with surfers because of storms out at sea that brought great waves to ride. I noticed that they came close to sunrise too and saw they went to work afterwards as well.
Over the weeks the water has gotten colder, the run rises later so I have more traffic, and the beach is quieter. Some days I note how locals have taken over again. Late summer days with circles of women with their children, retired couples, young couples and families hanging out together. Some like me alone and enjoying.
The first Friday in October was going to be 80 degrees. I set up clients for Saturday and packed my bathing suit and towel and headed for sunrise again with provisions for the day. This might be the last beach day so I wanted to enjoy it.
The sea was smooth as glass when I drove up, a good day to swim, albeit a bit cooler than August. Not too many people at sunrise yet as the morning went on the beach filled. I was one of the first to dive in the water. 66 degrees not so warm, but the sun was glorious and I was grateful for this day.
Over the weeks I have met people from many places as we suddenly struck up conversations. More dogs are on the beach and boardwalk, fewer surfers and swimmers. Sun lovers, fishermen and women dot more of the landscape.
The sun always rises, glorious, unique and awe-inspiring. I am grateful to live so close to the ocean and gorgeous New Jersey beaches to enjoy, only an hour away. This is a different world from my suburban town, one that inspires and nurtures me. Whenever I am called, I go for the adventure.
Enjoy your Journey,
Be The Medicine, Live the Power of You!
People have asked me about all of my ocean sunrise photos-here is the story of them. If you would like to see more photos look on my facebook pages. If you like join them. www.facebook.com/janet.straightarrow www.facebook.com/bethemedicine