If you look very closely at this roseate morning sky, you can see the tiny white curve of moon towards the upper right hand of the photo. A sunrise sliver, a night-time sky resident caught out by the dawn.
Zoomed as close as my earthbound camera can take me, I can see no sphere beyond the sliver; I must take it on trust.
But the moon glimpse is a bonus to a sunrise that is already expanding into a stunner. Despite all the sunrises I have seen, I am amazed anew.
I am reminded of a ‘Country Viewpoint’ piece I wrote and recorded for ABC Radio National’s Bush Telegraph program a few years ago; the morning moon was full and in the west here, but the delight was the same.
The rewards of early rising
Living in the bush means I don’t need to close my curtains at night — unless I choose to for extra cosiness in winter. So I am woken, not by a clock alarm, but by the pale pearliness of morning seeping into my consciousness, very often beating the kookaburra chorus.
The windows by my bed are low, facing the north-east, and at first eye-opening I greet the nearby densely forested gully and its adjacent ridges, their falling slopes allowing me to look right into their treetops and spy on kookaburras, wattle birds, crimson rosellas, friarbirds, magpies and currawongs.
Then my eyes are enticed to look beyond, over waves of dark green ridges and hidden gullies, to the far mountains, rugged and untouched, nudging the sky at 1500 metres. My own mountain is lower, about 1000 metres. Near and far, the view is always worth waking for.
Special effects are often employed for my morning shows.
Mist might rise from the mountains opposite as morning light grows stronger, revealing light snow fallen overnight up there. Because it’s in a dedicated wilderness area, only the wallabies will be marking that snowfall with their prints. But the sun might be rising too, and the mist will begin to glow, tinged with rose as the long low rays penetrate it. The snow will melt during the day; the brief glimpses I get are rewards for the cold morning, and a reminder that I’m not in Sydney!
Or those mountains may have snagged great banks of cloud, with free-moving streaks and breakaways scudding above, all turning an infinite range of pinks, edged with gold, favouring mauve for highlights. I’m not a fan of the colour pink on handbags or cars or bedroom walls, but when I see the absolute delicacy of the pink hues in a sunrise sky, I can only think that our colourists have gone wrong in their translation from the original.
Or I might wake inside a cloud, and linger a little to watch it lift as the sun warms it. Up my track and through the forest, the ordinary is illuminated by a lighting effects whizz. Spotlit, backlit and highlit, alternating softening and scintillating lenses—trees and tussocks, bracken and bark, mud and puddles — all transformed. Sometimes great long golden rays like divine demands — arise! — come spearing through the trees.
Or on what seems a normal day, I may stumble yawning onto the verandah to obey the horses’ demands to be let in, and be rewarded with a vast cloud canvas of reflected glory in the morning sky to the west.
Even more wonderful is when I fluke a moonset morning, with that perfect white globe still hanging up there above the dark treeline, in a rose-flushed western sky, and looking as pure and magical as we used to think it was — before we discovered it was just dust and rock.
What a start to the day — good morning, mountain! No wonder sleep-ins have lost their charm for me.