I’m not the kind of person who wakes suddenly. My body shies away from that kind of jarring. All I need to do to ensure I’ll wake up is set an alarm and I will find my eyes adjusting their focus on the clock five or ten minutes before it explodes with noise. Light is much gentler and just as effective as noise, and nothing beats waking up to an East Coast sunrise.
There has to be water of some kind to get the full effect, on a lake in the woods, far from the hum of an artificial, electrically lit city. The ocean is too noisy and it’s too difficult to build a house that close to the water when there are things like tides, storms, and beach erosion to worry about. Seagulls are loud, greedy, and annoying in their calls and desperate diving attacks. Loons lull with their melancholy calls and glide silently by in their seemingly aimless wandering.
The windows don’t have to be open, but the do have to be uncovered. No shades or curtains drawn. Otherwise what’s the point? And, last but not least, the windows have to be facing east. A sunrise that’s only reflected is like staring at the sunny sky on a rainy day with the rainbow behind you.
If all the ingredients are there, the sky begins dark, with little points of light that mark the stars. A glittery path trails across the water where the moon examines the effect of its current phase. Slowly the stars dim before going out and the deep purple sky lightens, imperceptibly at first, but then faster as the water begins to exponentially magnify whatever light is there.
As early as four o’clock, it becomes light enough to start seeing the objects in the room. By four-thirty, their colors can be guessed at. As long as it isn’t cloudy and the angle on the page is correct, it’s light enough to begin reading sometime between five and five-thirty.
Most people still won’t rise for at least three hours. The calm of those sleepy hours is silently productive for those who know how to harness the inspiration of an East Coast Sunrise. It is possible to live an entire lifetime in those hours others sleep away, if you know how to be quiet enough.