The sun rises every morning, but the sight always takes my breath away.
It was 7:30 am this past Saturday morning and I was lying in bed staring across the vast field of water that makes up Lake Michigan watching lightning bolts dance across the surface of the water to the music of thunder’s drum. I love mornings. All of them, especially a rare treat such as this, in which I had a first class seat to one of nature’s most beautiful spectacles with nothing to do but lie in bed and enjoy the show.
There is a new documentary coming out called Life in a Day, where people all over the world filmed their lives for a full day on the same day; the result is a beautiful composition interweaving lives around the world into one day (http://www.youtube.com/lifeinaday). It seems to dissolve the cultural barriers and physical continental divides that lead us to refer to each other as simply “the other” rather than as people who at the root of all our differences share the same day and the same emotions, despite what each day brings. I cannot wait to see it.
The New York Times Magazine showed six small clips from the film; the first one montages people around the world waking up and the comforts, realities, conditions, thoughts and emotions that accompany each beginning (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/07/24/magazine/dayinthelife.html?ref=magazine). I couldn’t help but recall my own awakenings through my years and marvel at the fact that I can still recall the exact feelings I was experiencing at each of those moments. And wondering why they still stick with me.
I find it fascinating that my first memory is a memory of waking up. I had just awoken from a nap in my crib, a mere tot of one and a half (ish) with my beloved yellow blanket clutched in my arms. There was a babysitter downstairs and I remember I liked her – I also knew that my older sister was awake downstairs being a “big kid” and that I was missing out on the fun. Down went the security bar of my crib (when I’m really motivated I can figure out anything) and I managed to climb (ahem fall) out of my crib to join the shenanigans downstairs. I had no intention on missing out on the party.
I remember Waking Up . . .
At 6:00 am on Saturday mornings to catch the “The Little Mermaid” cartoon.
To having my first sip of coffee during “The Little Mermaid,” declaring to my Dad that I thought the stuff was disgusting and scoffing at my Dad’s response, “one day you won’t be able to get enough of that stuff.”
So incredibly sick at age 10 with an 105 degree fever spurred on by a virus that left my left eye infected, my bones shaking, and a fear in my heart that I had never experienced before.
To the horn blowing at summer camp in Maine with the smell of fresh pine needles invigorating me out of my bunk.
To my friends’ snores on endless childhood sleepovers.
To the sun rising over Angkor Wat in Cambodia and wondering with all my might what it would be like to live in magical that city all those years ago and marveling at what the human race can create.
To my college roommate assuring me from across the room; no I am not blind, it is in fact snowing in mid-May. Okay good just checking.
To pancakes. Enough said.
In tents with morning dew greeting my bare toes.
To espresso shots with my dad at 5:45 on weekday mornings as I studied for high-school exams and wrote college essays and my Dad shipped off to work.
On the floor of a park ranger’s hut in the Costa Rican rainforest. I was shocked at how loud the rainforest is. And that there were bull-frogs in the toilet bowl.
On the second day of college to the horror that I had somehow managed to leave my phone in a pile of shampoo overnight, leaving me with no connection to the outside world. Pure horror.
With my dog’s nose touching mine. Tails are wagging.
With so much stuff to do that I don’t think it’s possible to actually get it all done. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t even matter.
With nothing to do and wondering what to do.
To Southern New Zealand winters, so cold that I can see my breath inside and the snow outside, and knowing that I am going to be this cold for weeks to come.
With my first hangover. Woof.
To total darkness in the depths of winter, knowing very well that I may not get to see the sun that day.
In straw fales on the beach in Samoa, only a mere couple of months before the tsunami came wiping them and many of the people working there off to sea. Forever.
On planes going from here to there and there to here.
On mountains; where the world can’t get to you but you feel as though you have access to the entire world. Pure bliss.
To birthdays . . . hmmm what will the next year bring?
To Christmas mornings – hot chocolate, the smell of pine, a crackling fireplace and a comforting quietness that only comes one day a year.
To this past Christmas morning, when I woke up on the wicker couch in a Taiwan hotel lobby surrounded by nothing but the vast (but very beautiful) coastline and a population of people who didn’t know what the day meant to me or that it even existed. I wonder how immigrants feel in America? Soup for Christmas breakfast.
To the smell of salt water on the ocean. Feelings of calm.
In the mountains of Tasmania after one of the most physically challenging days of my life and knowing that I’m about to do it all over again.
To the sounds of my house in Vietnam; first the roosters’ call, warning my self-conscious to prepare me for life, then getting gently roused out of bed by the rhythmic sweeping of the broom by the woman next door and the smell of pho in my window.
To the magic that only comes with the first snow of a season.
Jetlagged in Cambodia while running next to the sun rising over the Mekong River and locals taking their elephants for walks and knowing that I will never forget this.
Knowing that I’m about to jump out of a plane that day.
“Life in Day” transforms the ordinary into something extraordinary, and in truth, there really is nothing better than being able to start anew every 24 hours.