Sunrise Meditation

©2001 Rebecca Ann Salcedo

At the first sight of the ocean from the boardwalk, Molly sang out with glee and broke into a brisk run towards the shoreline, innocently trampling scattered clumps of tall grasses and scattering the dry sand on the dunes into the air. Once at the water's edge, she continued to run as fast as she could down the shoreline, reveling in the feel of the cool wet sand on her bare feet and the wind whipping at her long golden tresses. As she ran, a couple of seagulls flew overhead. Molly imagined that they were happily greeting her with their familiar cry and she eagerly reciprocated with a vocalization all her own. Molly often dreamt of being a bird. She envied their ability to ride on the air as if they were weightless. Running, as she was now, was the closest she knew she would ever come to that incredible feeling.

Her muscles fatigued and almost breathless, Molly gradually slowed to a walk and then, finally, to a complete stop. She carefully sat down on the sand just out of reach of the teasing waves. She looked out over the water towards the horizon. The sky was just starting to glow, indicating the coming sunrise. A warm briny breeze rolled in over the water and Molly lifted her head high into it, letting it wash over her. She took in long deep breaths, letting the sweet salty air rejuvenate her body and soul. The rising sun streaked the sky with bright fiery shades of yellow, orange, and red. The early morning light danced along the rolling peaks of the ocean like fireflies in an evening sky. This was Molly's favorite time of day and her favorite place be.

Continuing her attention on the spectacle before her, Molly recognized the familiar sound of footsteps on the damp sand quickly approaching. She knew who it was without looking. It was the person she loved most in the world--Hope.

"There you are," said Hope with a breathless but pleasant voice. Hope gracefully sat down next to Molly and took in a deep audible breath. "Isn't it glorious?" she sighed. Hope and Molly watched the sunrise together every day, day after day, year after year, and Hope always said the same thing--and it was always true.

Although no two sunrises were ever the same, they always filled Molly with the same warmth, the same sense of well being, the same joyful ecstasy, and the same goodwill. They were usually quiet during these sunrise meditations, but Molly instinctively knew Hope felt the same way. Molly couldn't imagine anyone witnessing such a sight and not feeling that way.

It was so peaceful and serene there, on the beach. It was hard to imagine the whole world didn't share this same serenity. However, Molly knew, not far away, people were living their chaotic lives. They were cutting each other off on the freeway, barking orders and complaints at one another, and people were unintentionally and intentionally hurting one another, even killing each other. They killed each other because of fear, hatred, grief, rage, passion, and, more depressingly, for no reason at all. There were places on the earth where bloody wars raged for stupidity over race, religious beliefs, and political affiliation. These dark thoughts caused the sunrise to lose some of its brightness for Molly.

Hope seemed to sense Molly's distress and gently stroked her hair.

"I know what you are thinking," said Hope. "You wish it could always be like this." Hope was right, of course. "But, if it weren't for the rest, this wouldn't be so sweet."

What Hope said made sense, but Molly still wished there didn't have to be such strife in the world.

"All we can do is carry moments like this along with us throughout our daily lives," said Hope. "When we are faced with darkness, we can remember the light, and strike some sort of balance."

Yes, that is all we can do, thought Molly, but wouldn't that be enough? If everyone carried the joy and peace with them that moments like this evoke, maybe we wouldn't be so apt to turn to anger, hatred, and violence. We might choose to embrace love, kindness, and solidarity instead. The grand possibilities enlightened Molly's soul and revealed the full brightness of the sunrise.

Molly and Hope continued to watch the sun rise in silence for some time. They watched as the sun completely unveiled itself, setting the sky afire with its golden light. The waves sparkled under its rays like diamonds. After spending some minutes bathed in the dawn's warm light, Hope quietly rose and started back the way they came.

Molly heard Hope's distinctive whistle and Molly looked in Hope's direction. She saw Hope standing a few feet away smiling back at her.

"Come on, girl," said Hope, patting her thigh with encouragement. "It's time to go back to reality."

Molly ran to Hope without hesitation and Hope headed back to the boardwalk with Molly at her heel.

Yes, thought Molly, back to reality--with Hope.