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It is early.
It’s 6 a.m., but I’ve been awake for more than two hours.
It’s my last day on Star Island, a place that came with a reputation it couldn’t live up to, and then did. Each morning I’ve arisen early and waited for the sun to come up. Even with clouds on the horizon, the sunrise each morning has been spectacular.
Last night’s supermoon was hanging low on the horizon, dancing in and out of the wispy clouds that formed to the west, casting shadows across the craggy landscape and backlighting the bell tower and chapel.
Out on East Rock this morning the light wind was blowing from the Northwest. The gulls were in full song. The waves were lapping up against the rocky shoreline. I sat alone, or so I thought, and watched the orange and pink glow hit the underside of the clouds. As has happened each morning, the sky would slowly brighten with only the rumor of the sun behind the clouds, until just above the horizon line a thin break in the clouds revealed the top of a glowing orange bulb. In the next few minutes, I would watch the shape of the sun emerge in pieces through the slender slit in those clouds. Saving the best for last, though, the heavens gifted me today with a larger opening above that small, thin one low on the horizon.
My patience paying off, the entire sun slowly emerged in all its fiery array and glowing glory in a gap in the clouds, almost perfectly framing the full circumference of the sun and for one brief second showing her off to me as the top of the sun hit the bottom of the cloud above and the bottom of the sun hit the top of the cloud below before slowly disappearing for good behind the large mass of clouds now hiding it.
As if in defiance of the clouds hiding her, though, the sun left one more surprise for me. Hid behind the clouds, she nonetheless cast her glow upon the rippling waters below, the bright oranges and pinks and reds shimmering on the waves in a dance choreographed in a way only nature itself could imagine.
As I rose to walk back to my cabin, I saw another person hidden behind a large rock who had also come to see the show. And then a few feet further up the path the artist in residence saw me, and we gasped in utter awe to each other in order to express what words could not.
My morning reverie has concluded, and a new day awaits, my final one on Star Island. It has been a gift to visit this place, to taste the offerings of her beauty, to plunge each morning at 7 a.m. into her frigid waters as part of the ritual of the bold and daring among us, to worship in her chapel as the incomparable Darrell Goodwin preached the word, to meet the visitors young and old alike who return year after year with their family and friends to experience all over again the island’s magical allure.
My spirit is calmed and my senses fully satiated. I will take the ferry back home today and make another sojourn into Maine before heading back home in two days.
I am grateful beyond belief for the gift for another experience of God’s grandeur, if I may borrow language from one of my favorite poets.
I pray that life is not so full that we fail to treat ourselves to moments like that in places like this. May you explore God’s grandeur in ways that open up your soul and spirit on this, our journey Into the Mystic.