Ode to the Sunrise Junkie

I’ll be the first to admit that of the 19,000-plus sunrises in my lifetime, I’ve witnessed a relatively small number. You see, even though sunrise is a magical event, it comes at a rather inconvenient time of day. Back in my 9 to 5 career days, I was likely driving to work, at the gym, or already in the office at sunrise. In summer, when the sun comes up hyper-early in Canada, I’m probably still sleeping when the sun makes its appearance. I love a sunrise, but I’m not a true sunrise junkie.

Along the Colorado
Cibola Wildlife Refuge — I made a point to exit the RV early for this one.

My mother likes to get up early, a self-professed “morning person“. Maybe this is just how she’s wired but it may also have developed during her years of raising six children. We introverts revel in solitude and I don’t imagine she got much of that at any other time of day. As a child, I’d rise to find Mom in the kitchen, organizing breakfast, making lunches, preparing her brood to launch into the day, and yet I ran across this sunrise photo from 1973.

1973 sunrise
Charlie Lake sunrise in 1973 (photo by Nora Bitner)
the brood in 1969
The “brood” in 1969.

As an adult, during visits home, I’m more likely to find Mom sitting on her deck overlooking the lake when I rise in the morning. In northeastern BC, the sun comes up as early as 4:15 in the early summer, so it’s often high in the sky by the time I exit the guest room. Mom will be reading, drinking coffee, looking out at the water and its life, taking in the beauty of the morning. Her house faces east, with Charlie Lake between her and the hills on the opposite shore. A prime sunrise viewing location.

 I love the pre-dawn hour, when the sky is often filled with vivid colours, and then the golden orb peeks over the horizon as though saying “OK, here I am, let’s get started.” Nora Bitner (aka Mom)

Autumn sunset at Charlie Lake
Late autumn sunrise on Charlie Lake (photo by Nora Bitner)

What’s so special about a sunrise? According to my mother, it’s the creation of a new day, a new beginning, hours ahead of possibilities. Sunrise signifies hope.

There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope. Bernard Williams

A new day! (photo by Nora Bitner)

I recently met another sunrise junkie and this one observes the start of the day through the lens of his camera. Harlan Thomas says, “Sunrises are one of the most powerful displays of nature that I can think of.” And he exhibits this sentiment over and over again in the fantastic images he captures of Alberta sunrises. (Harlan also takes some amazing sunset shots if you’re more of an end-of-day person. You can view some of Harlan’s work on his Facebook page.)

Harlan Thomas
Alberta sunrise (photo by Harlan Thomas)
Where I live, sunrise is currently around 7:30 so I’m seeing the sun peek above the prairie almost every day. But, as we march toward our longest day and a 5:20 sunrise, I know my dedication will wane.
Whether it’s the lure of a cup of coffee or the early morning sky that gets you out of bed in the morning, I pay homage to the sunrise junkies and continue my quest to be one of you.
Harlan Thomas 3
Calgary sunrise (photo by Harlan Thomas)



One thought on “Ode to the Sunrise Junkie

  1. What a beautiful tribute to sunrise junkies. Eloquently written. Thank you.
    The sunrise photos are awe-inspiring. The kids…a joy to have mothered, and
    continue to mother.

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