This past weekend, Sam was gone at a golf tournament from Friday afternoon until late on Sunday. It was my first weekend staying in our new home alone without my husband, which meant I had full reign to do whatever I wanted to do. Yes, it was lonelier around here, but it was also invigorating to really think about what I wanted to do, since the whole weekend was free and I was the one to decide what I did with my time.
So…what did I want to do with a whole weekend to myself? Apparently I wanted to get up way early and chase the sunrise. (Also: I know that “sunrise chasing” doesn’t sound as cool as “storm chasing,” but just roll with it.)
Sometimes I think about how often I take the sun rising for granted. What if it just didn’t come up the next day? What if the world stopped turning overnight and we never saw the sunlight again? I think I heard that some ancient civilization lived their entire lives not knowing if the sun would return again and if they would need to spend the rest of their years in darkness. Each morning they celebrated its return so their crops could grow, they could hunt for food easier, and go about their day without darkness.
Hearing stories like that makes me want to live with greater respect and appreciation for every single day and the things it brings with every sunrise. I will cherish the good days and learn from the bad, and recognize that each day is its own entity that I cannot dictate or control: I can only choose how I spend the hours I’m given, no matter what those hours may be.
Saturday morning, before a quick trip to the farmer’s market, I brought my camera down to the base of West Bay and shot some pictures of a sleepy Traverse City waking up. First, I stopped at Bryant Park (a place I pass every day) and enjoyed this beautiful beach without anyone else around. It was so peaceful, and I enjoyed seeing a place I’ve spent so much time in a different light (pun intended? I’m not sure).
I stopped by the farmer’s market to grab some kitchen necessities (apples, milk, croissants, peppers for an upcoming recipe), and stopped by the ATM on Front St. to get some cash out for the weekend. I was due back at my house at 8:15 to catch a ride downstate for a Michigan State football game…so, needless to say, time was of the essence.
Hustling back to my car to go home, I noticed the sun cresting over the Old Mission Peninsula. I all but sprinted to the edge of the water to capture the moments. There was a man sitting down at Clinch Park reading and writing, unconcerned with me running around snapping pictures. He had this peacefulness to him that made me want to take in the morning and the complex simplicity of a sunrise. I loved seeing someone fully living in the moment, embracing this beautiful morning.
As I was tucking myself into bed on Saturday night, I found myself wanting to get up before the sun again and try to catch it rising over East Bay instead of West Bay. I chose a spot north on the Old Mission Peninsula to be my destination, and headed out around 7:00 on Sunday morning.
Most locals would be upset with me for sharing information about this beach, because it’s one of the cherished spots locals like to go when all the beaches near Traverse City are filled with tourists (aka “fudgies”) during the peak summer months. But, I am one for sharing the wealth of this place and trust that if you’re reading this blog, you appreciate this place that I live. So, I will tell you about Haserot Beach.
Turns out I really beat the sun. I stood on the beach for 20-30 minutes snapping some photos of the clouds and water before the sun started to finally brighten the clouds with a radiant pink glow. It started out faint and then caught the whole sky on fire with a powerful blaze. It was truly magnificent to see it change right before my eyes.
Just as the sun was coming up over the horizon, a woman I saw walking her dogs along the beach approached me and offered me the use of her cottage just a mile away to take some pictures. She said it faced directly east and I could use her deck to look out around the cove. Normally, I would probably have thanked her and then just driven home when I was finished at the beach, perhaps regretting later that day that I didn’t take her up on the offer. Instead, I thanked her and mentally remembered her address and the house she described, then drove south a ways to the cottage. I recognized this as a gift from this woman, and I should accept her gift and make full-use of her offer. People don’t extend this kind of generosity very often, and I wanted to show my appreciation of her generosity by accepting and taking some totally awesome pictures. Her husband kindly greeted me when I arrived at the cottage and told me to go right ahead and take as many pictures as I’d like.
The view from their cottage was absolutely stunning. She wasn’t kidding about how great the sunrise was from their home! The sun was up by the time I arrived, but the light was playing beautifully off the water and the clouds. Admittedly, I took over 200 pictures on Sunday morning. The pictures I took from their cottage are my absolute favorite from the whole weekend, because they remind me of these two wonderful people I met and the incredibly opportunity they gave me. I gave them my email so I could send them the pictures, and I spent twenty minutes talking with them about all kinds of things. I was delighted to learn the woman, Bev, knew a lot about art and art history (hello!!), because not too many people understand the enjoyment of art history. They were both just so cool and genuinely kind, and I feel like I made two friends that morning. I can’t think of a better way to start off a day.