The little voice in my head woke me up this morning. “C’mon! C’mon! C’mon! The sun is going to come up – right over there! Right over the lake!”
How did the little voice know where the sun was going to come up? And how is she so full of energy?
Groggy, I don’t even bother to open my eyes. I replied to the little voice in my head, “That would be very lovely to see, if the sun were coming up over the lake… and if I could move.” It had been a rough night. Edward and I had words. I went to sleep late. It rained all night. The pelting rain fell loudly on my car top, and I tossed and turned fitfully beneath it.
“C’mon! C’mon!” The little voice was so insistent. She reminded me that the boat ramp was right off the water, and that I could pull the car right up to it. The words just tumbled out of her, “We could watch the sunrise from the car, and you wouldn’t even have to be cold!”
How did she know all of this?!? I am still sleep-disoriented, and I can barely remember where exactly we made camp last night.
Photographing a beautiful sunrise from my vehicle, sipping camp coffee with the heat blowing… it did sound lovely. Much more lovely than the two previous sunrise shoots, where my hands went numb and my teeth went chattering. The little voice obviously was not going to let me go back to sleep anyway.
“Okay, okay. I’m moving.” I actually spoke this out loud – to the little voice in my head. I start working my way through my morning routine. I stuff my pillow into the feet of my sleeping bag. I put Justice on her leash and let her outside.
“Hurry up! Hurry up!” she squeals. “We are going to miss it!”
I look around me while I wait for Justice to do her business. The dark is giving way to the light. I am starting to make out the shape of the trees, the picnic table, the fire pit. I agree, the sun will be coming up very soon. I decide I can brew my coffee from the boat ramp, just in case the little voice is right.
I warm up the car and return the driver’s seat to the drive position. My slipper nudges the gas pedal, and we move forward onto the dirt embankment, then up onto the gravel road. It’s less than a mile to the clearing I found at the end of this road yesterday, and the boat ramp is at the far end of that.
I survey the lake and the tree line and choose what I hope will be a good vantage point, maneuvering the car to point due east with room for me to jump in and out for photographs.
I light up my camp stove and wait for the water to boil. It’s a nippy 45 degrees, and a cup of hot coffee will do as much as the sun to brighten my day.
Meanwhile, the little girl inside me is practically bouncing with anticipation.
Sure enough, the clouds begin to tinge pink just over the treeline, and the water below picks up a pink hue as well. I smile in spite of myself. This is lovely indeed. The sun inched her way up, serene and subtle, winking through the clouds at the little girl inside me.
I am sipping my rocket-brewed coffee at Cordell Hull Lake, somewhere between Nashville and Knoxville. There is not another soul in sight. The birds are singing, and I can distinguish at least three different calls. They are each saying, “Good Morning!” in their own tongue.
I am now delighted that the little voice woke me up with such insistence. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this. What a glorious scene, and I am the only actor in it. Save for the sun. Oh and Justice. Oh and the birds. And the trees and the lake. Okay, we are a symphony, each playing our own special part. I feel so fortunate and grateful to be here. Yesterday has passed. Today has dawned anew.