02 October 2010

the morning sun in utah

We walked the puppies in the early morning light, when the sun had not yet made it over the mountains.

When we came to Cedar City and the Utah Shakespeare Festival before, so many times when I was growing up, we'd camp up in the mountains at a place called Cedar Breaks. It was a half-hour drive from the Festival, and after seeing Much Ado About Nothing or Merchant of Venice, up the mountain we'd go, late at night. I'd fall asleep imagining I was Beatrice with Benedick so in love with me that he writes embarrassing sonnets.

On top of the mountain at our campsite, my parents would wake me up, and I'd stumble out of the car and into the cold. Smell the cedar, the campfires; feel the quiet, the hush, the sleep. Curling into my sleeping bag, I'd say good night to the family and will myself back to the dream where I got to wear a pretty dress and dance around.

The next morning up on the mountain, we'd eat a breakfast of instant oatmeal, dressed in multiple layers and still shaking a bit from the cold and the shock of no longer being in the cocoon of a sleeping bag. Then we'd head down the mountain, into the desert of a valley, and gradually de-layer. By the time we were at the Festival—in time for the Literary Seminar where we got to discuss the play from the night before {me practicing up for my English degree, I guess}--we'd be in our t-shirts and shorts, having completely forgotten the freeze of the morning.

This time at the Festival, we aren't staying at Cedar Breaks. We're staying, actually, in a parking lot across the street from the theatre, a benefit of travelling in a camper. The transition from the theatre to bed is much shorter this time around, but that doesn't mean I don't go to sleep dreaming I'm someone else on the stage.

This morning, we walked the puppies in the early morning light, and I'd forgotten how quickly it becomes bright day here in Utah.

The morning sun is soft, twirling, gentle. A waltz of light, highlighting now this, now that. The side of the mountain is in the spotlight, but then there's a quick shift and the tree in front of me is where the show is.

As soon as that sun tips over the mountain, though, it's full, blaring day. Immediately. It immediately looks like mid-afternoon, even if it's only 8am.

At home, at home in the flatlands, there is a more sustained crescendo of light. The sun comes over the horizon, and you see it right away; there is no hiding behind the mountains, sneaking up on you. While the sun still plays momentary favorites with what part of my view it highlights, it is a slowly growing intensity, that light at home in the mornings.

By the time the sun shines directly here, it's hot, ready for the day. And it makes you feel that you should be ready, too.


  1. Sounds like you enjoyed your visit! Nice post!

  2. Your family is awesome!

  3. i thought about you and your parents as i listened to prairie home companion tonight. hope you're enjoying your vacation!

  4. Sounds lovely! I have never been but now I wish I was there! :)



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