Editor's Note: Any Given Sunrise | December 2022 | Editor's Note | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
click to enlarge Editor's Note: Any Given Sunrise | December 2022
Looking east toward Rhinecliff from Kingston Point, November 15, 6:38am. Photo by Brian K. Mahoney

This is why we come. Why we get up in the blue-black pre-dawn and slip out of warm beds and drive down to the water's edge. For a magnificent dawn like this. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder snapping photos like tourists watching a panda give birth. I wouldn't be surprised if Cat Stevens started singing "Morning Has Broken" out of unseen speakers in the sky, like the bells ringing at the end of Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves. The whole thing has a magical-realist spectacle to it that makes hymns understandable. It's so freakishly stunning you have to look away.

But celestial sightseeing is not why we've come at all, actually. We're not a cult of Sun genuflecters, we're dog owners. The sunrise is an added bonus. (That said, shout-out to the Sun for being a nearly perfect ball of hot plasma that's made it all happen for the past four billion years. If I was to worship anything, it'd be you, buddy.)

We're here to walk our dogs. Or, to be more precise: we're here early enough so our dogs can run off-leash and not bother anyone. (Well, they bother June, who has a never-ending pocketful of treats in her coat that Clancy is constantly trying to smuggle the whole of his mastiff head into.) To let them amble and sniff and root in the bushes without being tethered to us for a few minutes.

We're here for small talk. The half-asleep easy stuff: restaurant openings, problematic neighbors, movie reviews, dream analysis, recipes, why a Greenland kayak paddle is thinner than a normal oar, the strangeness of Portuguese bathrooms, when to start wearing long underwear—it's all up for discussion.

We're here to be quiet and let our minds wander in silence.

We're here to remember other mornings and the dogs and dog owners who are no longer with us. Each morning is an implicit memorial service. We walk for us but also for them. We walk with the beautiful ghosts of Bear and Emmett and Shazam.

We're here to watch tugs push barges up the river, sending wake onto the shore that frightens the dogs.

We're here to complain. About new traffic patterns. Our dead mothers. And often about the programming on NPR. Specifically, why WAMC sees the need to have a local meteorologist read the weather for 10 minutes every morning. We have phones for that now. (Like everything else.)

And does anyone care how cold it is in the Nunavut Territory or what the wind speed is on top of Mount Washington?

We're here for each other, morning after morning, in all seasons. Except when it rains. Clancy doesn't like the rain.

We're here for all of it, but today, we're here to watch the sunrise.

Brian K. Mahoney

Brian is the editorial director for the Chronogram Media family of publications. He lives in Kingston with his partner Lee Anne and the rapscallion mutt Clancy.
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