Northern California at Sunrise -
Photography from the back seat of a car heading through the hills of the Pacheco Pass toward Central California....
A new year begins and I wonder if I filled the last one with everything I should have. Last year is now gone, and if I keep wondering or worrying, I'm not living in the present. And all we truly have is the present.
I've also come to the realization that if we put too much time avoiding things, staying away from things, worrying about what we think we shouldn't do or say or be around, we don't always have time to fill our lives with the things we should - like pausing to drink in all the beauty.
The sun shows its glow, but does not yet show itself - and it's strange the way a captured moment can look like it is both sunrise and sunset at the same time.
The first time I saw the sun rise over the hills of Northern California was about ten years ago after visiting an Orthodox monastery with friends. I never forgot that morning or how purified my soul felt as we left there. The last time I saw the Northern California sunrise was not so long ago - the sun was both pink and yellow shunting its warming rays on the chilly, tired earth, the hills soft blue in the distance.
So many times I have prayed, asking God, "Where are you?" or
"Why aren't you listening?" or
"Why won't you help me?"
And I have finally begun to look back on my life and see how many of those seemingly unheard prayers were being answered incrementally, slowly, then exponentially.
It often happened the way the sun rises so seemingly slowly when you are waiting for it, the way the darkness of night seems so reluctant to leave. Yet we are traveling around the sun at over 66,000 miles an hour.
Morning goes by and noon comes - the sun is full in the sky above us, covering us and our surroundings with 360 degrees of light.
Sometimes when I see the sun rise, this unexpected peace comes over me that everything is going to be okay - even when a hundred unfitted puzzle pieces lay around waiting for their place in the short term, I know in these moments that the bigger picture will be beautiful when those pieces come together.
Still, we wait for those pieces to come together. And this is why we need new beginnings - because of all that goes wrong in this broken down world. We need new beginnings so we can once again have hope that all those scattered puzzle pieces of our lives will eventually fit together. We need new beginnings because we mess up, because we misunderstand, because we are misunderstood.
Many mornings in my life I did not see the sun rise in this life because I was focused on the scratches on the window.
But the sun continued to rise, again and again.
Happy new year. Here's to new beginnings, here's to all our dreams coming true - even if not as soon as we would like them to - even if just moment by moment, even if it all happens slowly and incrementally, may it all happen exponentially.
(c) 2015 writing and photography by Chloe Koffas