August 14, 2013
Racing the South Coast Sun
A special world awaits you if you venture out before the sun.
4:30am: I am certainly not the earliest bird in the flock, but today I bound out of bed at 4:30am like a child on Christmas morning. We are going to race the sun!
5:00am: Coffee in hand and right on schedule, we plummet south on route 88 towards Gooseberry Island at Horseneck State Reservation in Westport. The crescent moon travels alongside us wondering where we are going. Beach traffic is but a dream of those still in their beds as we fly down the highway free as a seabird.
5:22am: The Westport River glows with the pinks and purples that herald the arriving day. A handful of fishermen cast off the bridge. While they await their catch, they gaze past the familiar landscape of boats bobbing sleepily in the marina at Westport Point.
5:24am: The gate to Gooseberry Island is closed, so we abandon the car and continue our race against the sun on foot. The causeway extends like finback whale’s tail, narrow and grey, to the island encrusted in sea grass and beach plumb. A man passes us with camera equipment hoping to catch wonder on film.
5:35am: The clouds float pink like cotton candy thrown against the sky, and the shore is busy with morning activities. Red winged blackbirds whizz back and forth overhead, piping plovers scurry about skillfully dodging the waves, and dragon flies dance in the salty air, harbingers of whimsy.
5:39am: We arrive before the sun and settle into front row seats with plenty of time to spare.
5:42am: The sun peeks over the horizon and slowly begins its ascent towards the heavens. She is not surprised to encounter an audience even though it feels as though we are watching the dawn of the very first day.
5:58am: The sun now hovers just over the horizon, a luminescent orb suspended magically in the sky. This is a beautiful place and a magical time of day. It is a moment reserved for those who are willing to voyage out before this part of the world begins its getting and spending. It is the place and time of fishermen and photographers, solitude seekers and sun racers.
6:15am: As we float back to the car on the ocean breeze, we encounter more early morning voyagers. There seems to be certain camaraderie between strangers here in the early morning hours. Regardless of our daylight differences, on the beach at sunrise we are a family of sorts. A fisherman greets us happily.
“Good morning! Good morning! It’s a beautiful day. We couldn’t ask for more than this,” he declares.
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