I hate getting up early. If you ever see me awake willingly before 10 AM, you’re basically seeing a unicorn. I avoid morning classes like the plague and I do everything I can to sleep as late as possible.
But my worst nightmare came true on Monday: I had to wake up before the sun fully rose.
My car had to be moved at 7 AM because I didn’t have a permit for the on campus lot I was parked in. Normally I would have just moved it and gone back to sleep, but I decided that, since I was already awake, I should drive down West Cliff Drive.
Drive down West Cliff I did, and it was gorgeous. Waves were breaking on rocks and the morning light reflected off the ocean in a way I’d never see before (probably because I never see anything that early). I pulled into the lighthouse parking lot to go up to the railing and look out at Steamer’s Lane and the bay.
There was a ton of wildlife, including animals I rarely see here. I saw the usual sea lions and birds, but I also saw around ten sea otters and three dolphins. At least, I think they were dolphins. They’re hard to identify when all you can see are dorsal fins.
I just stood there, staring out at the bay, soaking in everything.
Through all of this, one thought kept running through my head: “is this what I’m missing when I sleep in?”
I decided that the answer was “yes” and that it wasn’t something I want to just forget about. The morning was so peaceful and calm, and I was so happy to be awake to see all the beauty and nature I take for granted living in Santa Cruz.
The amazing thing is that it took the fear of a parking ticket to force me to be up early enough to see all of this.
Though I know I’ll never be a morning bird, I’m so much more willing to get up early now that I know what I’m missing out on, and I plan to do it more often.
I challenge you to do the same and to submit your stories of what happened when you did.