Seeing the sun break through the horizon is one of the most powerful moments we humans experience. The morning light is magic: the rays split across the sky and displace the darkness of night. Each sunrise has its own personality. The colors are always streaked differently while the clouds weave varying textures. To me, sunrises look like hope set on fire.
A week before my study abroad to Rio de Janeiro, I promised myself that the one thing I would do for myself on the trip was see a beach sunrise. I would do anything it took, even breaking the buddy system rule (I know, such a rebel, hah) if no one wanted to wake up early with me. Thankfully, a few friends wanted to come along.
After stumbling through the dark house, riding the metro, and making our way through the streets of Rio, we arrived at Ipanema Beach. The view is one of a kind—a beach surrounded by mountains. We climbed onto a giant rock and waited.
You know I’m in awe when I can’t find the words to describe something. And that’s exactly how I feel about this Rio sunrise. The city skyline was to the left. The ocean was to the right. The pink and orange sky outlined the mountains with the light falling on the waves as each crest bombarded the beach. The wind blew smooth and birds were talking to each other as they took turns diving into the water to catch their morning meal.
The moment made me wonder: how much kinder would the world be if we spent more time watching sunrises rather than Netflix?
The American culture is saturated with technology; it has become the air we breathe and the food we drink. So often, we are more concerned with capturing a moment for Instagram rather than soaking in a moment for ourselves. So often, we are more invested in the characters on our TV shows rather than the people we actually talk with each day. Beauty should make us more appreciative of the world around us and more empathetic to those near us. It should prompt us to feel deep and think long.
Technology is not a bad thing. I’m writing this blog post on my computer. Technology is a beautiful representation of man’s ability to create, however, it shouldn’t take away from actually experiencing real life. It shouldn’t belittle the moments we could be more deeply connecting with people, with the world.
I think that’s why I’m in love with sunrises—they make us understand the beauty this world has to offer. It makes us recognize how interesting our lives can be, even when they feel mediocre. It may seem cliché, but sunrises encourage us to hope, if for no other reason than seeing the sun peek over the horizon because it is a miracle we experience each day. And we need to start seeing the beauty in everyday miracles again.
Photo: Sunrise at Ipanema Beach, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. Photo by Caroline Henry.