Five years ago I woke up and saw a blazing shape in the sky. It drew me to the upstairs window and then quickly down the stairs to my camera. The front of our home faces east, with an expansive vineyard across the road, then the river, and beyond that a ridge of mountain the forms the southeast boundary of the Napa Valley. Day was breaking and the sun was bouncing its early glow off the underside of the low November clouds.

I’ve always been a morning person. When I was five I was obliged to get up at 5:30 and help my older brother wrap newspapers for his paper route. There is something inspiring in the atmosphere that time of day -- a stillness that excites, the breathing of the world as the darkness dissipates and a new day begins. I felt it that morning.

I was a recent initiate to Facebook and decided to post the startling light show I had just captured, captioned with the adapted Creedence reference: “Doo doo doo lookin' out my front door.” To my delight, I got “likes”. Lots of likes. 

Thank you, Ivan Pavlov. The next morning offered an equally beautiful daybreak performance and I was there again, capturing on my camera and posting on Facebook.

Five years later I am still here. And still there each morning, watching a “new” sun slowly illuminate the sky. I’m programed now, and it’s not just from the positive conditioning I get from Facebook friends. It is the experience of a new day’s promise, written in the sky each morning – sometimes in high drama, sometimes in flat almost featureless expression – that keeps me coming back. An amazing show every day. One after another. Always new. Always fresh. Always open.

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