The day the sun rose in the west

The day the sun rose in the west

You wake one morning after a disturbed sleep. Not a nightmare, but a dream abound with uncertainty; on one hand troubling, the next exhilarating. Notions of the solar system, of half-determined faces and conjoined animals drift faintly from your head: the wings of a skylark beneath a jackdaw’s beak, a barracuda propelled by the limbs of a dog. Each creature, in the dim light of dawn, no clearer than a fisherman’s lamp in a winter storm.

Pushing back the covers – the soft, warm fabric running through your hands like tepid water – you leave your bed and make cautiously for the door. The iron handle, cold upon your palm, clunks loudly as it turns. Your reverie is broken and in that instant the dreams are gone.

Awake, you are surprised to see that surrealism paints the walls, not so much a melting clock, but a show of light that defies the norm. Tones of peach and coral ebb languidly through the hallway, their light source soaking your body with warmth. How unusual, to see such luminance so early in the day. Your pace quickens, curiosity fuelling the tank. Across the hardwood floor, an amble becomes a walk, and a walk a canter.

The petunias that hang beside the front porch of your home have always drank from the afternoon sun, yet today, as you burst through the door with confusion running rife through your veins, their petals nod, variegated and delicate, in a puddle of morning light. You look at them, momentarily humbled by their innocence, before raising your gaze to the horizon.

The sun rises in the west, for the first time in your life and any human’s for that. What do you do?

Sunrise, love and ice – Kepler Track, New Zealand

Sunrise on the Kepler Track, New Zealand (Jake Graham Photography)

Sunrise on the Kepler Track, New Zealand (Jake Graham Photography)

We woke in the hut before dawn. The logs in the burner, the night previous so alive, had faded, leaving us huddled side by side in our sleeping bags like penguins in a storm. Too cold to sleep, we rose, pulled on our hats and gloves and pushed open the cabin’s creaking, wooden door.

Cloud branched through the valleys beneath our vantage point, and the low scrub that populated the Luxmore slopes lay frozen with wind-sculpted ice shards.

Some time later, the night’s sky turned sapphire. The sun climbed slowly beyond the eastern ranges, at first, oddly cooling, before washing the scene with a warm amber light. My capillaries flooded with love, and, at that moment, I was present.