Watching the Wheels Go Round

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Pre-dawn on the summit of Haleakala, Maui.  All photos: PK Read

Pre-dawn on the summit of Haleakala, Maui.
All photos: PK Read

What is it about watching the sun come up and watching the sun go down?

After all, it’s just a way of watching the planet turn in its usual way, day after day. IMG_0536

At least for me, watching a sunrise, and watching a sunset, never gets old.

Each one the fundamentally the same, each one unique.

On our last day in Maui, we made the early trek up to the summit of Haleakala.

We left our hotel 3 a.m., arriving at the top of the mountain around 5 a.m., and then waited patiently in the blistering cold as the stars in the clear skies above gave way with excruciating slowness to the bruised purples and reds of pre-dawn. IMG_0562

As ever more people arrived, we wondered whether the entire undertaking was really worth it.

The long drive over from the western shore, the frigid temperatures, the biting wind that blew away all memory of the coast below, hidden beneath a layer of coastal clouds as if in another world, a dream world of beaches and balmy breezes.

And then, the clouds were limned with orange and gold, the sun broke through, a collective sigh arose from the crowd, quickly followed by the chirps and clicks of a hundred cameras.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it did.

Daybreak, again, always new. And then, the drive back down the mountain, with stops to look at the blasted crater, the tumbles of volcanic rock, the carpets of vegetation that reclaim the land, over and over.IMG_0580

The day was bookended by the sunset, always predictable and never the same.

The Earth turns, the sun disappears behind the horizon, same procedure as yesterday and tomorrow, and I never tire of it.

Sunset off the coast of Wailea, Maui.

Sunset off the coast of Wailea, Maui.

 

And don’t even get me started on moon watching…

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