sunrise: 7:11 or thereabouts
J suggested that I report in my blog post that we left the house at 2am in order to drive the hour and a quarter to Mount Desert Island and hike up Cadillac Mountain and arrive at the top as the sun rose. That was the ambitious idea...
Truth be told, we rushed away at 5:40am and arrived at the summit by car. We were there in time to see the first dawn in the country, according to some (I am in the camp that argues that first dawn is at the easternmost point in the US, at West Quoddy lighthouse in Eastport, Maine -- see February 14 entry). Cloud cover was dense, except for one sliver of horizon just north of the obscurity that thoroughly blocked the face of the sun itself.
After 50 years of visits to the island, this was J's 1st time ever up Cadillac. It was my second. Both times I have been pummeled by an incessant wind, but this one was an icy blast that stabbed right through fleece and denim. Every puddle was glassy with ice. One of the dozen or so dawn watchers arrived late, huddled in a very new looking down parka;
"Did we miss it?" he asked in a distinctly southern voice. He gave a shiver and hunched his shoulders up against a gust of frozen air. "Good thing we stopped at LL Bean, anyway. When it's this cold, money is no object."
Boston Harbor. I'm usually alone in more private locations. I like to see how many people brave the early hour and the elements to stand outdoors in the presence of blossoming day.
With its reputation of being the site of our nation's first dawn, it makes sense that many choose to be present on top of Cadillac for that uniquely illuminating moment. It is as dependable and inevitable as anything in our human experience. Something to be counted on, no matter what triumph or calamity has struck the world, whether we are there to witnesss it or not. It is a powerful draw.
I wonder how often there is no one on the summit of Cadillac at sunrise. ?? I suppose we'll never know. If anyone ever goes to check, someone will be there.
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