sunrise: 4:57 (July 7th)
During a recent night on Sutton Island I was awakened by the brightness of the moon at 3:30am. I was drawn to go outdoors and look, in spite of the hour, and could already see the a faint glow beginning on the eastern horizon.
Ever since the year I spent rising before the sun, the early glow of morning light has filled me with flutters of anticipation. Most of the time I happily roll back over and back to sleep, but sometimes I give in to the urge and go out to meet the dawn. This particular night, I was so far in advance of the dawn that it was still, for all intents and purposes, the night sky that I was observing. But like many versions of our celestial covering, the night sky presents a beautiful scene – especially this one.
There were the lights of Seal Harbor across the western way, that strip of ocean between Sutton Island and Mt. Desert Island. Then there was that spectacular moon, casting shadows on the piney ground, its light reaching us from across a great span of space.
But that span is nothing to the distance between us and those two brilliantly bright planets, stacked one over the other to the east, casting a path of light across the sea. And finally, inconceivably distant starlight reaches across light years of space to draw our eyes upward.
All of those light sources come from neighbors of sorts, if you allow for a liberal interpretation of the word. For how many years have human beings pondered the distant lights from our neighbors – in the universe, in our sky, in our own world? Since humans began, I suppose.
There will always be something mesmerizing about gazing out at distant lights in the dark night sky.