Signposts

Yesterday was my youngest daughter's birthday. She's 30. In four days her brother will be 35 and the twins will turn 40 in November of this year. All of this is more than a little baffling to me because, most days, I don't feel old enough to be the parent of people who are those ages. The calendar claims otherwise.

Sunrises

The cruise went very well, thank you. We sailed on the Carnival Dream out of Galveston 4 days with one Port of Call in Cozumel, Mexico. This was my 8'th cruise so habits have been formed. I never miss a sunrise, weather permitting. There were some glorious ones this time. My favorite was the morning after we departed Cozumel coming back.

As usual, I make my way to the "coffee-on-tap" and head up on the balcony, hot cup in hand, to the spot that was pre-selected as best for the event. Not too much artificial light, wide angle of view. Very few people around this time of day, I almost have the ship to myself. Stars are still out and the waxing crescent moon has long since set so the sparkling reflections on the wavelets is the starlight combined with the rather substantial glow from the ship itself. It is a little after 5 AM and the Eastern horizon is only a little brighter than its counterpart to the West. There is a tower of cloud that appears to be producing rain but isn't pulsing with lightning like some I've observed at sea. Now that is a show.

As the eastern sky slowly brightens the clouds on the panoramic horizon become more and more noticeable. At the point where the sun will eventually appear, the shape of the cloud formations is more distinct, the lines bolder. It becomes easy to tell where the sun will appear. Sharp relief there becomes gradually less well-defined as the eye follows the horizon away in either direction. The cloud formations are constantly shifting hue and, at that sunrise focal point, resemble some sort of alien aqueous cacti sprouting from the gulf horizon.

Now the horizon quickly changes. What was previously grayscale, like a black and white movie, becomes more and more colorful. The edges of the clouds are now shifting color almost by the second and the water's surface funnels the colors to the ship. Finally the clouds wrap around the fire that has kindled within them, trying, without success, to extinguish it. Instead, it ignites them from within, turning them into brightly glowing red and orange embers. Finally, exultant, the sun rises above the clouds and they turn into clouds again.

Coffee cup is empty. Time to go find some breakfast.

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