As the weather becomes more miserable and TriBeCa turns more into TriBeria, I have been thinking a lot lately of my travels to the island paradise of Hawaii earlier this year. Katie and I had some amazing adventures on that trip - a boat trip with dolphins, a helicopter ride along the Na Pali coast, my first attempt at hiking, tons of tuna, and a casual sunrise on top of a volcano.
I'm no stranger to *staying* up until 3 am, but I am definitely not used to *waking* up at 3 am. But when you travel, you're supposed to do things that you normally don't do, and I don't normally get to say, "Good Morning," to the sun while standing on top of a volcano.
If you find yourself on the island of Maui and don't make this trek up Mount Haleakala for the most beautiful morning of your life, you are making a mistake, point blank. Haleakala means "House of the Sun" and, at a height of 10,023 feet, it is the largest dormant volcanic crater in the world. As in so large that the entire island of Manhattan can fit inside of the crater, which is pretty unfathomable.
Katie and I hopped in the car to ride to Mount Haleakala and she drove the two hours up the mountain, which was mainly switchbacks, so I'm sure it was pretty stressful, but I accidentally took a nap while we ascended. I have only driven once in the last four years so there was no way she was trusting me to help out and drive part of the way, let alone with the turns and drop-off points this mountain had.
When we arrived to the summit, there were maybe two hundred people already there, but as the landing is so large, it did not seem crowded at all. We got in position, threw our elbows out so no one could cut in (seriously), and waited. It was definitely cold up there since it was so early and so high up, oh, and since my sneakers were still damp from my fall in the river earlier in the trip. I don't know exactly how long we waited, but eventually we started to see some pinks and oranges, all still with Venus in view. When the actual sun popped up from the horizon, the people in charge started a Hawaiian chant to welcome the sun into the day, which I found this translation of via about.com.
The sun in the east
From the ocean
The ocean deep
Climbing (to) the heaven
The heaven highest
In the east
There is the sun
Mark Twain once called the sunrise at Haleakala, "the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed." I'm not one to argue with Mr. Twain and he obviously writes a lot better than I can. It's difficult to put words together for such a magnificent view and experience. Pictures can speak way louder than my words and of course they don't do the actual sight any justice, but maybe they will help, even if they're just from an iPhone camera.
Something that I found the most special about this experience was that this event happens every single day on top of Mount Haleakala. The sun rises every day, and yet, this celebration as if it's the first time it's ever risen also happens every day. This brings me to one of my favorite Betty Smith quotes from one of my favorite books, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn".
This is all a great reminder that each and every day should be welcomed and treasured. It seems like a perfect way to start thinking in 2015. Maybe I will even try to become a morning person so that I can see more sunrises.