Eight Minutes Till Sunrise

OP Pre-Dawn with wave

5:38 a.m. August 18, 2013 at Ocean Park, Maine


Sometimes here at Ocean Park, dawn’s early light is more amazing than sunrise itself.

Today was a good example. As I rolled over in bed toward the windows at about 5:30 a.m., I saw color in the sky that I couldn’t resist. I quietly stepped down the creaking stairs of the cottage with my iPhone and Nikon Coolpix.

It’s not all beauty and inspiration at that hour of the day. There are mosquitoes to swat away as you try to get that perfect shot. But it’s worth it when you return to your laptop and download images like the one above.

I’m writing this in the evening, and the sky has settled into a companionable grayness. I’m looking back from a day’s distance at that first hour of the morning. I had a few Sunday plans, but I didn’t know how they would turn out.

I didn’t expect much from the visiting preacher at the Temple at Ocean Park, because he’s filling such big shoes.¬†following in such big footsteps.¬†Jonathan L. Walton¬†succeeded the late, beloved Peter Gomes as Harvard’s preacher in April of last year, and Peter for decades had been, by far, the most popular preacher invited to the Temple each summer. This was the Rev. Dr. Walton’s first visit, and he surpassed my expectations with a sermon about what he termed the hot-cold empathy gap.

The idea was that sometimes, in our coldness or lack of empathy, we impose formidable moral standards on others, while at other times we get so wrapped up in our own rage, desire, or fear that we forget to apply anything like those same standards to ourselves. It was easy for me to imagine Peter Gomes smiling down on his 40-ish successor, whispering in his inimitable Yankee accent, “Well done, young man. You’ll go fah in Ocean Pahk and else-way-yah with preaching this good.”

As Walton’s sermon exceeded my expectations, so did the lobster roll I had for lunch in Cape Elizabeth, where I drove the car to fetch Darlene and Deb after their 16-mile bike ride. We ate outside at the Lobster Shack. The lobster meat was fresh and sweet, and came with a pretty good cup of clam chowder.

Now we’re winding down for a cool night for sleeping, low in the 50s. The light is fading, but still active in the muted hues it draws from the dune grass and the calm ocean visible out my window. The view changes every minute, if you watch closely, which is what I tend to do more in Maine than elsewhere.


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