Posted by: geolocke | 2014/10/11

San Pedro Sunrise

A journal entry from one of my trips to Guatemala:

9:00am Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Hotel Bambú, Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala.

I woke before dawn this morning. I don’t know what time is was, perhaps 5am or thereabouts. I put on my glasses and looked out my window. There was Volcano San Pedro set against the cloudless pre-dawn sky. I grabbed my camera, tripod, and shutter release and headed up to the balcony to get a photo of the volcano. By the time I got to the balcony, a very short time, hints of cloud and fog were beginning to form around the volcano’s peak.

I decided to take a series of shots capturing the effects of light on the cloud and volcano as the sun rose above Volcanos Toliman and Atitlán behind me. I wished I had brought a video camera with me so I could have captured the sounds of bird songs and flapping wings all around me as the birds were waking up.

The sight of the volcano before me was imposing, its conic form rising up out of the waters of Lake Atitlán some 5’000′ to it’s peak, taking up all the view in front of me. There was now just the faintest trace of color on the clouds above the mountain, and a thin veil of fog enshrouded the very top of the peak. The sky kept getting brighter. A couple of birds flew past my face so close I could have reached out and touched them.

The fog on the top of the mountain now showed the lightest hint of color. I think to myself: “Here we go, the show is beginning!” Keeping the camera steady with the tripod, I wind and take photos about once every minute. Before long the colors changed from darkish grey-greens and browns to the most brilliant golden sunburst. The display played out on the ever changing cloud formations that were also growing around the mountain top.

All too soon I came to the end of my roll of film. I did not reach for another roll to load. I knew that the moment would soon be past. Instead I stood there taking in the all the natural show that was playing out before and around me, turning my control over to my senses as I took it all in: the smell of wood smoke from hundreds of nearby breakfast fires, the sound of more birds than I could ever pretended to count, the feel of the soft dampness of the morning dew as it touched my skin, and the most fantastic light show in the form of the sunrise on the volcano that stood before me.

And just like that the moment passed.  The mountain now looked normal (if that can truly be said) standing there in the full light of the day’s new light. But while it lasted, that ‘golden moment’, that magical time of morning’s first light was fantastic! It spoke to some deep seeded, almost primal instinct or memory. I wondered what the ancient Maya must have felt watching these sunrises, and indeed if they still looked up in awe, wonder and astonishment at the majesty of creation as each new day is born. And it also spoke to me in my heart of God’s first moment of creation when God said “Fiat Lux!”, “Let the be Light!”



  1. really liked this one. reminds me of many things.


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