The depth of the canyon echoed silence at night. Once lamps turned off, laughter and gossip settled into the red dirt. Tents and sleeping bags rustled, a few people whispered. Then silence.
Out of the silence, we woke at four o’clock to walk the camp paths on one of our last days in Havasupai. We walked parallel the stream, then over a bridge near the falls. With the sun hiding and the sky dark, pullover hoodies were a necessity. The temperatures climbed during the day, but at night the canyon cooled. We climbed to a ridge in the canyon and sat in a semicircle. Someone spoke about the sunrise and God’s beauty. I rolled my eyes silently in the dark. Like most teenagers, all I could think of was sleep.
Until the sky bloomed the first color.
The dark purple night became a shade of blue. Beneath the blue a cap of orange rose, like heat rising from a lamp. I wanted to pause each second as the sky changed. I wanted to stand in the brief moment of beauty, blue and orange contrasting above me. But with each passing second, the horizon was more beautiful than the last. Blue, mystic and majestic. Orange, vibrant and lively. But the colors alone do not make the sunrise beautiful.
I love the sunrise because I love change. The sunrise speaks to newness on all levels. The changing sky, the transitioning colors. The beauty of darkness right next to the beauty of light. Each new sunrise delivers a new day, a new inhalation, a new mug of coffee, a new set of problems, and a new perspective of the problems. And each sunrise is as consistent as the last.
With each rising sun, an increment of time passes, a sliver of a year. And with each passing day, the Earth turns around the sun as the lights above change. And the night sky bridges the days, ancient stars and moons perpetually shifting perspectives.
Even in the primal, selfish state of sleepiness, the sunrise woke me to beauty. But that’s the mystery of grace, isn’t it?