Sometimes, I think my family is a little insane.
My cottage is on a peninsula that’s sandwiched between Lake Erie and Rondeau Bay, and as such, we get the best of both worlds: the sun rises over the lake and sets over the bay. We only have to walk down our 100-yard path to get to the sunrise, and a good view of the sunset is about a 3-mile bike ride away. Because we’re out in the country, there isn’t a lot of light from buildings to interfere with the natural sunlight. You can see a glow of light from the sunrise peeking over the horizon earlier in the morning, and light lingers over the bay later into the night.
The summer solstice is tomorrow, which means we have just more than 15 hours of daylight. Being at Rondeau, that also means that while the sun itself breaks over the horizon a little after 6am, it begins to get light as early as 4:15. My dad and I, equipped with beach chairs, blankets and mugs full of coffee, went down to the beach at 4:00 Saturday morning to witness the complete transformation from night into day.
My dad did this same thing with my older sister at the solstice last summer, and when we got down to the beach, there was one major difference. Last year, it was pitch-black when Dad and L went down; this year, there was a considerable amount of light from the full moon. And from a fishing boat.
Fishing boats are not uncommon to see in the early mornings at Rondeau. During our two hours at the beach, Dad and I saw a total of eleven fishing boats. They kept appearing from the marina around the southern end of the peninsula, one by one, until there was a line of little white and red lights dotting the horizon.
This boat, however, was not your run-of-the-mill fishing boat. It had a gigantic spotlight, brighter than any I’d ever seen on a boat, shining right in our direction. We had various theories about why the boat had this light, which Dad kept calling “Megaspot.” One theory was that it’s to help see and lure a specific kind of fish; another was that nobody’s had the heart to tell the boat’s owner that the light is ridiculously bright and enough to illuminate the night sky.
Megaspot eventually turned its watchful eye away from our direction and moved further out into the lake. After that, we were able to focus our attention to the sky and watch it change colors. We watched the sky morph from a deep, midnight blue into the yellow, pink and orange typical to any sunrise. In addition, we witnessed the change from night wildlife into day. When we got down to the beach, we could still hear a lone whippoorwill singing in the woods behind or cottage, but by the time the sun rose, there were seagulls swimming and little minnows sticking out their heads to try to eat the bugs off the surface.
Waking up early completely messed with my sleep schedule. After we finished watching the sunrise, I went for a run, ate breakfast, and did a ton of reading and writing. It wasn’t until 10:30 when I realized I’d been up for nearly six and a half hours and was completely exhausted. I napped for only an hour and a half and had some incredibly strange dreams about lions and deer. Yeah. I know.
But this isn’t something I can do during the year while I’m away at school. It was so, so worth it.