A Morning Sunrise

Preface
This is an example of a beloved diary entry that evokes strong memories of yesteryear. I go back to this entry frequently. What you write in a diary can be just as powerful as a photo. So much is forgotten, but this won’t be. I will remember this morning forever.

This is a diary entry from 1972. I was nearly 25, working as a milker at the dairy at Walker Creek Ranch in California, living in a bunkhouse with other young women. I was off that day but I hitched a ride over to the dairy with the ranch crew after breakfast in the communal kitchen. These were not really mountains, but the rolling hills of coastal California.


25 September 1972
Eyes burning, night memories twisted, body sweating, I delivered myself from my bed. Hot, house on fire, whose furnace am in? Sleep wouldn’t come again with peace. These are the forms which beget nightmares—rows upon rows of beds with bodies in them. (…) Ah, dreamily I focused the blame, saw the thermostat. Well, let them roast in their own hell, I’d rather freeze. Out into the cool of night I fled from my thoughts of day. Cold air blasted my fevered face, relieving, reviving, and I fell into the star-spangled night.

After stuffing myself with pancakes that stuck going down, I climbed into the pick-up truck. We drove down the road on a path of milk dust shed by the roundest of moons, the chariot horses careened wildly from side to side as our Jehu raced the daylight. The world was lit with a surrealistic moon-glow.


Eyes still glazed from fire, I picked up the kitten and began rolling my stone up the hillside. I brought the kitten along because I was not sure what I would find on the top of such a mountain before dawn. The time was 6 a.m. The kitten started purring. Then I found the spot. How is it that we find these places we are looking for, when we have never seen them before? You always know the place when you first see it. There was a rock with lichens and we sat. We sat to watch the dawn come, freezing now, toes very stiff. Cat still purring.


The first light was creeping over the horizon of the distant mountains. I was the audience-of-one in a large amphitheater. There were several displays in a panoply of color. I rotated myself, did obeisance to the east, west, north, south, and for every revolution there was a change. The clouds went from pinks to orange, purples to grays. The last colors were red. The sun pushed a brilliance over the edge. Although I watched carefully, I missed the moment that day pushed away night. That is what is so intriguing—you never see it at all even though you think you have watched a sunrise.


About that time I became drowsy and kitten and I fell asleep, she, tucked under my sweater, and I, huddled against the rock. We slept off and on while watching the sun get brighter and brighter and then, when day had finally taken over the midnight world and the moon gave up and disappeared from sight, we walked down the mountainside together. She was purring all the way. In fact, the only sound I remember all along was the rumbling purr of the cat.


At first I had tried to make her go away. But she kept sneaking back after a brief interlude of stalking, resuming her incessant clawing and rubbing. Death did not walk these hills this morning and her birds got away. So we welcomed each others warmth and worshiped together the first rays of the sun by doing what felines do in the sun—sleeping.

2 Responses to “A Morning Sunrise”

  1. Woodswoman Says:

    A beautiful captured moment, Cynthia! Just like a photograph, or a snippet of a video . . . thank you. Joannah

    Like

  2. Clyde Hennessey Says:

    Love these entries! Question: if I have a lot , I mean a bunch, of diaries, how can I get them to the Diary Archive? Thank you, Clyde Hennessey

    On Wed, Aug 25, 2021, 18:35 National Diary Archive wrote:

    > Cynthia Manuel posted: ” PrefaceThis is an example of a beloved diary > entry that evokes strong memories of yesteryear. I go back to this entry > frequently. What you write in a diary can be just as powerful as a photo. > So much is forgotten, but this won’t be. I will remember this ” >

    Like

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