In case you aren't aware, because I haven't announced it here, I have returned to college.
I am working on my RN degree, to finally, finally reach the dream I have had for 30 years, to be a nurse.
With a lot of studying and God's grace, I will graduate in about a year.
I am super excited and I am really enjoying school.
For my English class I wrote a paper that I have been mulling over in my head for about 14 years. It is about a morning and a sunrise that I witnessed when I was 18 years old and had just moved out on my own.
This was a special morning for me. Special enough that I still remembered it clearly enough to write about it 14 years later.
I decided to post it here for posterity and anyone else that might be interested.
Please read, but don't steal. This is my own work and plagiarism will get you kicked out of school.
Fue De Joie (Fire of Joy)
I let out a slow breath and closed my eyes with a tired smile as I leaned against the wall by the time clock. The last 12 hours, all through the long night, had been exhilarating. It was my third shift on the OB/GYN floor and I had witnessed my first on-the-job birth. It was my second birth to be present for. Assisting my sister in her labor and delivery three years before had cemented my desire to work in L&D. After CNA classes, a volunteer internship, and countless hours of dreaming, my wish had come true.
Still smiling, I walked out of the double doors into the cool darkness of the early November morning. In the arid Southern Utah town of St. George the morning air was crisp and chilly, but not cold, as it would have been in my hometown of Provo, Utah, in the mountains far to the North where they would surely be getting snow very soon.
Walking across the blacktop of the parking lot towards my car, I rounded the corner of the sprawling five story building, suddenly revealing on my left an edge of pink and gold along the rugged black skyline in the East. I stopped in my tracks and stared at the early morning light peering over the horizon. The hints of bright color and the pulled cotton clouds low in the sky promised a beautiful sunrise.
After my long graveyard shift fatigue pulled at my body and I debated for a moment the choice of driving home to the warm and inviting bed in my new apartment. But the desire to watch the sun come up over the city that was now my home pulled harder.
The parking lot was already becoming an ant hill of people. Employees, doctors and nurses showing up for duty, and patients arriving for early procedures were already crawling in and out of the hospital doors. It seemed an unceremonious place to witness a small miracle of nature, although the labor ward had been perfect for the one I had witnessed during the night.
Folding my gazelle-like legs into my maroon Volkswagen Rabbit, I remembered the park I had just found the week before on the bluff to the North of the city. Looking again at the glowing coals on the edge of the sky, I wondered if I would have time to get to the high park before the glory of the dawn was over.
Judging that the sky just might wait for me, I pushed my gear shift into drive and pulled forward out of the lot and onto 3rd West. The avenues of my new city were dimly lit by street lamps. As the town and its roads were still new to me, I paid careful attention to the street signs as beams from my headlights bounced off of them. I drove quickly, but carefully, not wanting to miss the sunrise, or the road that would lead to the park. I found the right street and carefully maneuvered on to it.
Urging my little rabbit up the steep hill, I rounded the hairpin turn and summited the rise. Brighter now, the Eastern sky was directly in front of me. An infusion of pure white light battled for territory into the darker shell that covered the earth. Quietly creeping upward, the light overpowered the stars that dared to rest too close to the rim of the horizon, winking them into invisibility. Hints of pink, bronze, yellow and gold glistened on the bottom edge of the wispy low hanging clouds.
Excited, I turned my little, puttering car into the park and rounded the narrow lane to the parking area. This park was not a typical grassy lot with children’s playgrounds, but was a playground of a whole other sort. Intruded only by the one lane road, a few parking and picnic areas, this park was several acres of the red sandstone characteristic of “Utah’s Dixie”. Rocks, boulders, cliffs, crevices and solidified mounds of what looked like thick red pancake batter spread all around me. I parked, and wrapping my light jacket around me, hopped out of the car.
One huge boulder sat aside from the smaller cliffs. I ran to it, across and around the other rocks, the light growing behind me. At the boulder I found the crevice on the inner side, hidden from the front, that supplied hand and foot holds to the careful climber. My red scrubs and white Nikes were poor rock climbing gear, but I mounted the huge rock with a little effort.
Pulling myself up, I stood triumphantly on top of my sandstone monolith and surveyed the world below me. Beginnings of daylight just began to unveil the shadows of the wind-and-rain crafted rock formations spread around the base of my vantage point. To the South, at the base of the bluff, sprawled the city. The white temple in the middle of the town glowed among the other buildings like the beacon that it was to this town’s early settlers. If I looked carefully I could make out I-15 snaking around the neighborhoods.
To the East the sky grew more luminescent with each passing minute. The lowest edge along the mantle of the earth was electric white. Shining brass grew and spread above the white, tingeing the clouds with metallic red.
Ruler of my kingdom, I took my seat on my boulder throne facing East and watched as the conflagration before me grew. The orange ozone deepened to crimson and traveled upward, higher in the sky. Where the blush collided with the clouds new explosions of colors appeared. Purple and burgundy lined the nebula. Silver spread along the crest of the earth, shining, glistening and shouting out to the world that day had arrived.
The caliginosity over my head retreated slowly, giving way to a dark blue, then lighter, then crisp, ceruminous azure, lifted by the purple, red, bronze, and gold inferno. The stars of the firmament dimmed and disappeared one by one, as the night surrendered its grasp.
The battle of light over darkness continued in the celestial sphere as I sat above the world and witnessed the glorious rebirth. Brilliant pigments appeared not only in the sky, but in the earth below me as the nocturnal gloom crept hesitantly back like a beaten dog.
Like the infant that had entered the world just a few hours before, a new day was born. In only a few hours I had been privy to two fantastic miracles of beginning. My chest felt full of unwritten poetry; glorious, descriptive words, thoughts and ideas that had been spelled out by the incendiary vision that I felt I alone had witnessed; scripted across the plane of the heavens in better pigments and fonts than I could ever have translated into a mere humans English. Sitting on my throne, on top of the world, surrounded above and below by the cacophonous morning, I felt invincible.
The new day had begun, not just for my city and the people who still slept in the houses below me, but for me. In a new town, my dream job, my emerging independence and new adulthood. This was my sunrise; my day to seize, my future to grasp.
I stood again on the stone tower above the world, and raised my arms to the East. Closing my eyes, I let the morning light pour over me. Bathed in the brilliance and hues of God’s palette I faced my Day. My beginning. My sunrise. My feu de joie.
Finally, the sun, following its radiant prelude, lifted majestically over the horizon. The symphony of colors emblazoned the celestial sphere all around it. The piercing light stabbed my weary eyes, and my body achingly recalled the last 20 hours I had spent awake.
I lowered myself carefully from my lofty perch and walked smiling, face to the sun, back to my car. It was the new day of my adulthood, but this day would be spent curled up sleeping in my bed.