There are few things that will pry me out of bed at 3:30 AM. I can think of only three: flood, fire, and family tradition. My New York family- the fast friendships I have made over these almost six years- has developed a tradition of going to Coney Island on Easter morning. To watch the sunrise. A trip that requires one to get on a train bound for Coney Island just as the bars are closing.
Wrenching myself out of bed after 3 hours of sleep? Sitting on a subway car for 1.5 hours amid the drunks and bums? Standing on a cold beach in partial darkness? These were all reasons I had resisted going before. But this past year I’ve needed and appreciated my friends more than ever. If they said it was worth going, fine, I’d trust them.
Trusting your friends: one of the best decisions a person can make.
We got off the last stop of the D train in pitch darkness. The late April air was chilly, I wished I hadn’t refused to wear my winter jacket on principle (it’s spring, damn it!). Stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts made everything better. With hot cocoas warming up our hands, we walked toward the beach.
Stepping on the wooden slats of the boardwalk, glory greeted us. There’s no other way to describe the display of colors in the sky. Bright, beautiful, awe-inspiring. Better than any sunset I had ever seen. Breath taking. So vivid even a mediocre iPhone camera couldn’t miss the splendor of the sky.
We sat on the wall of a jetty, sipping our cocoa, passing ’round a bottle of whiskey, our beds completely forgotten. No one could imagine wanting to be anywhere but on that cold, beautiful beach.
New York City is a struggle. It’s a city of dreams. Dreams are made, dreams are dashed, dreams are changed. My friends and I are all dreamers, all desperately creative, passionate individuals. What other type of person would sit on a cold, deserted beach taking in the sunrise?
None of us chose the easy way. We chose paths of constant struggle, constant rejection, constant doubt. Sometimes it feels like it’s all worthless. Like you’re reaching for the impossible. What’s the point? That’s when your friends drag you out of the darkness and together you watch the sunrise.
Metaphorically and today literally.
Nothing but the beauty of and the love of friendship. It was an hour of living truly in the present. We had no where else to be, nothing else to do but enjoy each others company and the rays of the sun.
Then suddenly, even though we had focused on it for almost an hour, morning snuck up on us. The sun was out! Easter and spring: times of rebirth. Nothing has illustrated this so well as watching dawn arrive to New York City. We’re gonna make it friends. But before we do, I’m gonna get as much out of this sunrise metaphor as humanly possible.
Some of us have begun to see hints of color, hope and prospect. Some of us are still in the blackness, with no hint of what’s to come. We gotta stick together. That sun will come out, it’s only a matter of time. When it does, it’ll all be worth it. As tempting as it is, I can’t bury myself under the warm covers of my bed.
Thank you friends, thank you readers, I’d be nothing with out all of you. The next time you have a chance to watch the sun rise, say yes. The next chance you have to spend time with people you love, say yes.
Now I get why there are so many songs about this, they’re all spinning through my head right now.
The sun’ll some out tomorrow
Here comes the sun
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sun-shiny day
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
Yep, all of the above.