It’s 5:30 a.m. and we’re in the bed of a Canadian stranger’s pick-up truck, on our way to Phu Chi Fah mountain along the Thai-Lao border in Chiang Rai province. After reaching the top, we hike another kilometer through the darkness to the summit, where hoards of Thai tourists have already claimed their front row seats. Huddled up for warmth, we join them near the edge and watch the stars disappear as the sky begins to lighten.
Soon, the mountain peaks below us become visible, like tiny islands amid a sea of rolling clouds. The horizon glows bright orange and camera shutters click all around us, tour groups and families all doing their best to capture the miracle that’s unfolding before us. I watch in awe as the fluorescent pink orb slowly reveals itself.
You might say I have a “thing” for sunrises. More times than I can count, I’ve crawled out of bed to watch them on The Wall at Hampton Beach or from an Adirondack chair at our beach house in Maine. Many of them have even marked significant days in my life. The morning I left home for my freshman year of college, my friends and I sat in silence and savored the first moments of the last day of summer; the last day we had before everything would change forever.
I must admit, however, that I’ve never seen a sunrise quite like this. It was as close to a spiritual experience as I’ll probably ever have, and for a moment (however cliché it may be), I knew with absolute certainty that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” -The Buddha