A Sunrise Got In The Way

Sometimes in life, everything just falls into place perfectly.

This morning when I left the house to take the kids to school, dawn was barely breaking over the horizon. Sunrise was still more than thirty minutes away, but you could tell it was going to be a good one thanks to a faint glow on the horizon that was already reflecting off the underbellies of the clouds overhead. I’ve lived here long enough to know that once the sun rose, the sky would briefly come afire with a burst of eye-catching color, and I wanted to be ready to capture the moment. Fortunately, I had my phone with me, and the camera on the EVO is pretty decent. It’s got 7 megapixels and has churned out some surprisingly good photos in the past.

The sky brightened as we reached Camas, and nature’s watercolors came to life, the horizon a canvas of brushstrokes that had been dipped in purple and pink and orange and red. A breathtaking scene. We passed Audrey’s school, and the sky was so brilliant my heart ached a little. I’m a sucker for nature’s beauty, what can I say? It’s why I love the Pacific Northwest so much. I knew that I had a very limited window of opportunity – just a few minutes at best – so I had to find a spot to pull over and snap a picture. Camas’ biggest claim to fame is its paper mill, which was already spewing steam into the atmosphere. Hardly photogenic. I was afraid I was going to miss out on the chance to capture what had become a stunning sunrise, when I saw my opportunity. A little side street next to her school. It was on a bluff that faced east, and was dotted with trees.


I pulled over, jumped out of the car, aimed my phone/camera toward the horizon, and pressed the shutter. Fortunately, I captured that magic moment for posterity.

My detour caused Rusty to be late to school. I was going to call the attendance office and excuse his tardiness by letting them know a sunrise got in the way, but his teacher ended up waving it off. It was worth stopping, anyway. Within minutes the sky was nothing but a muted shade of gray, and there’s a lesson to be learned in this. Our time here is fleeting, so we have to make the most of it. Stop and smell the roses whenever they’re in bloom. Grab the brass ring. Go for broke. Life is too short not to pull over to the side of the road and take in the beauty of the world for a few moments when the opportunity presents itself. If you had blinked this morning, you would have missed it.

I was reminded of a quote from one of my favorite movies ever, American Beauty. The narrator, Lester Burnham, might as well have been inside my head this morning.

Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.

So, here’s the sunrise. This photo hasn’t been doctored in any way, shape or form – I just downloaded it right off my phone. It’s not a perfect shot, but it was a perfect moment…and that’s all that really matters.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

18 thoughts on “A Sunrise Got In The Way

  1. I agree…. perfect moment. Two nights ago my 5 yr old yelled at me to come to the door and to hurry! So I did. For 65 seconds, we watched the full moon rise above the mountains in front of our home. It was also a perfect moment! Thanks for sharing the beautiful pic!


    1. I saw the same moon (okay, from 840 miles west of you, but still!) and pointed it out to the kids. I love it when nature shows off so brilliantly…and it’s even better when we recognize those perfect moments as we’re experiencing them.


  2. What an amazing picture Mark, and the post was beautifully written as well. I even choked up a bit reading it towards the end, as you are so right how limited our time is (probably doesn’t help I’m stressed beyond belief today). Thank you for such a wonderful post that helped bring the day back into perspective.


  3. STUNNING capture, Mark!

    It reminds me of the end of Act 1 in the movie, ‘Gone With The Wind’, where Scarlett O’Hara says, “I’ll never go hungry again.”

    I so enjoyed how you said this….

    “The sky brightened as we reached Camas, and nature’s watercolors came to life, the horizon a canvas of brushstrokes that had been dipped in purple and pink and orange and red.”

    Beautiful visual!

    And btw, I LOVE the movie, “American Beauty.” I so enjoyed the role that Annette Bening portrayed.

    Hope you had a super day, bud!


    1. Would you believe I’ve never seen Gone With The Wind, Ron? I know, I know…that’s a real crime. Especially considering Tara is a major character! Granted, an inanimate character, but still…

      Have yourself a happy next few days!


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