I took the photos above on morning when my husband and I both woke up before sunrise. Once we each realized we were both awake ~ still lying in bed in the dark ~ I suggested we watch the sunrise.
The photos doesn't really do the experience justice, especially not the moment the sun began to burst above the horizon - a brilliant, flaming and ruby red - hanging above the urban landscape of grays, whites, and silvers. And it can't possibly capture the time I spent sitting at our window, watching the sky brighten tiny bit by tiny bit, savoring the beginning of a new day like I hadn't in I don't know how long. This was the Beginning of a New Day. This was a present unwrapping itself before my eyes. This was a tiny sliver of time when all I did was watch the sun and earth do the same work they do every day, day after day after day, whether or not I notice it, whether or not I celebrate it, whether or not I offer it any gratitude.
Sitting in the middle of Tokyo that morning, watching the city come alive, I was reminded of what an extraordinary gift we are given each day ~ which is the day itself. We bemoan growing old, the signs of age, the way our bodies don't let us do as much as they once used to past a certain age. But considering how many things can go horribly wrong on any given day ~ considering the memory I have of the day I learned my 14-year old classmate was killed in a car accident, or the day I got the phone call telling me my best friend's 18-year old brother died in another one ~ I'll take the tiny signs of age that are beginning to creep in, because they remind me of the long life I'm living.
I don't know how many more sunrises I'll make the effort to watch so intently, and that might very well be the last time I see the sun rise in Japan. But I still might get to smell the air in China, watch my puppy grow into a dog, hold my husband's hand, and write a few more stories. I'll take every ounce, every inch, every moment that I can ~ for all it's worth, for all it will allow, for all it will let me inhale.