A beautiful sunrise presents so many possibilities. Technically, sunrise is the time in the morning when the sun first appears. But it’s so much more than that. It’s the start of a new day on that part of the planet where we live and sets in motion a myriad of events that define our day.

“I’ll Tell You How the Sun Rose,” by Emily Dickinson

I’ll tell you how the Sun rose –

A Ribbon at a time –

The Steeples swam in Amethyst –

The news, like Squirrels, ran –

The Hills untied their Bonnets –

The Bobolinks – begun –

Then I said softly to myself –

“That must have been the Sun”!

So it’s not just people that are waking up with the sun. The entire earth awakens when the first rays of morning light fall upon it. And, of course, it’s not just the light but also the warmth that sets everything in motion. Mother Earth has played this tune for eons and every piece of the planet plays its part. As the first rays of light fall upon the oceans, lakes, and streams, the microscopic zooplankton start their daily migration downward in the water column, only to rise again at sunset. Birds awaken and along with countless other animals start their daily search for food.

The early bird gets the worm…

Most animals are diurnal. Awake and active during the day. Some animals are nocturnal. Awake and active at night. These animals go to sleep when the sun rises or before.

Many plants begin the process of photosynthesis at sunrise, turning sunlight, carbon dioxide, (that humans, for instance, exhale with every breath), and water into food, releasing oxygen in the process. In this process, plants transfer energy from the sun to make sugar, (food), to be used or stored later. Not a bad deal for us humans and other oxygen-breathing organisms on the planet. And then there is all the food that the plants make that we humans and other animals depend on to survive. Quite a remarkable reciprocal relationship between the plants and animals on our planet.

Of course, the light from the first rays of the sun allows us to see just what’s going on around us. Including the sunrise. We depend on this light to see and interact with the world. Or we create artificial light sources so we can see well at night. Cats, however, don’t need artificial light at night. They have 6 to 8 times more rod cells in their eyes than us. These rods are the cells most sensitive to low light giving cats the night vision advantage over us. However, cats don’t perceive all the colors that we do and many other animals see in colors that we can’t.

With the sunrise, the earth itself starts to warm and expand causing to some extent the crumbling of mountains to the sea. The sun warms the soil and rocks and boulders that might be used by certain cold-blooded animals, such as lizards, even very big lizards such as Komodo Dragons to warm themselves. It allows the Anhinga, (a black long-necked fish-eating bird that “swims” underwater and spears fish with their long pointed bills), to dry its wings after breakfast. Anhinga’s don’t have very good oil glands so they are able to dive deep underwater to chase fish. But because of this, it must dry its wings before it can fly.

Komodo Dragon, Anhinga, The Colorado Rockies

The warmth from the sun will cause the snow to melt on a Colorado mountain top and flow, in a sparkling clear stream, to the river in the valley below and ultimately to the sea.

The morning sun heats the air as well and as it heats up it rises and a breeze stirs. A breeze that cools us on a hot summer day. This upward flow of heated air carries with it, among other things, moisture. On a summer’s day, this water vapor and dust might turn into cumulonimbus clouds that later may rain or even form a thunderstorm with lightning and thunder and perhaps a rainbow at the end.

The sun gives us energy as well. The light we see as the sun peeks over the horizon in the morning is literally a transference of energy from our star to us and everything on our planet.


The sunrise provides a brand new canvas for us every day. An opportunity to fill our minds and hearts with the beauty and wonder that surrounds us. That gives us hope and anticipation of good things to come. How can one look at a sunrise and not sense this?

A sunrise can be simply inspirational…

Morning has Broken

Eleanor Farjeon

Morning has broken like the first morning

Blackbird has spoken like the first bird

Praise for the singing

Praise for the morning

Praise for them springing fresh from the Word

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven

Like the first dewfall on the first grass

Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden

Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight

Mine is the morning

Born of the One Light Eden saw play

Praise with elation, praise every morning

God’s recreation of the new day

Morning has broken like the first morning

Blackbird has spoken like the first bird

Praise for the singing

Praise for the morning

Praise for them springing fresh from the Word

So, at the end of this blog entry, I will have written one thousand words about the photo of a sunrise taken some years back. I could write many thousands more. Do you have a photo or a picture that inspires you to write a thousand words about it? I look forward to seeing pictures that you feel are worth a thousand words or more and hearing some of your thoughts about them. There is a reason that:

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”


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