- Zoë Rom -
Grace, Gratitude and Sunsets
I love being surprised by sunsets.
Though it’s something that happens everyday, I’m constantly caught off guard by their beauty. Cotton clouds unspooling in pastel purples and pinks as the horizon glows in brilliant reds and oranges. I love racing the day’s last light down talus slopes and hillsides as the air cools and my shadow melds with the darkening sky around me. I love it when sunsets sneak up on me on mountaintops as much as parking lots, or tapping on my bedroom window and beckoning me outside to enjoy the daily finale as the sky draws its own curtains shut.
To me, it’s a reminder that I don’t need to do anything, be anywhere particularly special to receive the gift of a beautiful sunset. All you have to do is to be present and ready. Some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen have been from beautiful alpine summits. Many have been in Safeway parking lots. It’s less important where you are - it’s important that you show up.
Sunsets have taught me the importance of retaining my capacity for childlike surprise. They help me exercise my ability to feel gratitude for small things - daily surprises that can help make our lives a little bit more beautiful.
I love sunrises for a very different reason.
Where a sunset can sneak up on you, sunrises are deliberate. They feel earned - through early alarm clock rings and black coffee poured in a warm mug.
I love lacing up my shoes and shedding layers in chilly anticipation of the day’s first rays sneaking over peaks and tree tops as I run. It feels like a reward for some kind of discipline, or perhaps ambition. A drive to squeeze every last second of life out of the day - being awake to greet it at the top of a mountain at the end of a long dirt trail, and being present to bid it farewell at the end of the day. Sunrise is a reminder to wring every second of light and life out of a single day -
An early bird by nature, I’ve always loved the quiet and solitude that I can find in the early mornings on deserted trails. It feels like a secret that I alone share with chilly morning air, chirping birds and the unique, herbal smell of sage as it begins to warm in the day’s first light. I love to stand on a summit, knowing I am the day’s first greeter. It feels incredibly intimate, to watch the day establish itself through light and clouds and birdsong.
These moments are incredibly special when shared.
On a recent sunrise run just outside of Denver, about 20 or so runners gathered in the early morning hours in an attempt to surprise the sun, returning its favor. Groggy in the early morning, we ran quietly up sage-strewn slopes toward a rocky outcrop, like silent pilgrims being drawn toward a mutually sacred destination. Upon reaching the summit, we stood in silence and wonder - awash in warming beams as color exploded in the valley below us.
Get up early. Work for the privilege of being one of the few who gets to greet the dawn. Then, surrender to the surprise of a sunset that can’t be earned - only accepted with willing eyes and immeasurable gratitude.
Territory Sunrise Run - Vancouver / Alley Vause
Territory Sunrise Run - Denver / Allison Dobbs
Territory Sunrise Run - Portland
Territory Sunrise Run - Seattle / Lynn Carlson
To learn more about our community Sunrise Runs in Portland - Seattle - Vancouver - Denver - San Francisco - Asheville - Click here: Sunrise Runs