#27 on the list. Done.

I had resigned myself to going alone after my kids kept finding excuses to put it off another day.  And another.

But then I was talking to a new friend and the topic came up.  One thing led to another.  Or more precisely, one idea led to a commitment.  We would go together at 5:45 AM on a Saturday.

When my alarm shook me, I sat up thinking I had dreamed the whole thing.  In the darkness, the idea didn’t seem so great.  And by the time I pulled up to my friend Meg’s house, 30-something-degrees and raining, I knew the idea wasn’t so great.

“Should we do this another morning?  One where there might actually be a sunrise that we can see?” I suggested.

“NO!  Let’s do it! It’s gonna be fun.” Meg rallied.

And with that, we were off.

We must have looked a strange sight.  Me, all touristy with ski gloves and a camera bag.  Meg, all fitnessey with her running gear and head lamp.  But, step by step as we trudged up the butte, our stories swirled about.

I used to think that road trips were the petri dish for great conversation.  Now, I’m convinced it’s hiking up tiny mountains at dawn.

By the time we reached the top, we could see the city start to stir.  Clouds were rolling in from the mountains – covering the peacock blue sky.  A grandmotherly type came after us and commented, “Well, I guess there’s no sunrise today.”  I felt my heart sink.

Meg must have seen my disappointment because as soon as the woman left, she said, “What do you call this?  The Sun Rose!  This is a sunrise.”

And she was right.  It may not have been a vibrant pink and splashy orange.  There was no Jesus-ascending-lightbeams behind big clouds.  It was subtle and simple.  Exactly like life.

We live in a culture that values the amazing, exotic, bright and beautiful.  But the majority of our time and experience is not.  I really wanted the sunrise from the top of Pilot Butte to be spectacular.  Dramatic.  And after we scrambled/slid down the trail, the wind whipping and our fingers numb, I realized the memory itself was spectacular.  Not the experience itself.  But experiencing it with someone.

Life is meant to be shared.  Bucket lists alone are, well, lonely.

Without Meg, I would have definitely hit snooze, rolled over and gone back to sleep.

Still dreaming of hiking to the top to watch the sunrise.


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