A Quiet Sunrise

By Jeanethe Falvey

It doesn’t matter how often I see the sunrise, I can never get enough. An indescribable sense of calm washes over me when I catch one, and I have yet to find something as warm and comforting to start the day.

This past Tuesday morning, I woke to the sound of cars hustling on the highway below my hotel room. As I awoke, I could see the hint of a warm glow beginning on the horizon. As if I’d miss it, I jumped up and walked to the window to take in the scene.

There were quiet houses tucked in between the highway and the beginning of larger government buildings. Looking over the Arlington rooftops and across the Potomac to D.C., a skyline silhouette took shape. Some office lights were already on and it was apparent that those on the road felt that they were already late to work.

Above all the rooftops stood the Washington Monument; much closer, the United States Air Force Memorial was gliding into the sky.

As the sun rose a little higher, it began to reach the walls of the Pentagon. Ever so gently, sunlight made its way into Arlington Cemetery.

It was peaceful. When cannons were fired and the smoke drifted across the trees it came as no surprise. I was not alone in my silence or in my reflection of what had taken place on this day, 11 years ago.

I remembered where I was then, and I was sobered by where circumstances had brought me now. I thought about that morning’s sunrise and all that had changed by that day’s sunset.

For whatever reason, I found some level of peace at the thought that every day since, the sun has risen again. I felt a level of comfort in remembering that, overnight, people changed. We slowed down, helped out, and collectively felt that first new day together.

So this morning came like any other, with the sun reliably cresting the edge of where we can see: waking us up, fueling us to make the world as we wish.

About the author: Jeanethe Falvey writes from EPA’s Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education, as the project-lead for Pick 5 and the State of the Environment, two projects geared towards learning, sharing and gaining a greater collective connection to our environment.