Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sunrise in the Valley

I'm willing to bet many people do not have the fortitude (or insanity) to wake up at the crack of dawn in Napa Valley. Actually, in the summer I am willing to bet many of the vineyard laborers do get up at the crack of dawn and hit the vineyards to tend to the vines and grapes in the morning before the 100-degree days set in.

However, in the cooler off-season months, the entire Valley seems quite quiet and asleep, empty like a ghost town in the wee hours of the morning when I wake up to head to work. I'm sure most tourists certainly don't rouse themselves at sunrise after eating rich dinners and drinking plenty of wine (possibly more than they should have, they may think in the morning) the previous day.

This is sort of a shame. People are missing out. Dawn is often one of the most serene, ethereal, beautiful scenes I have ever encountered. Sometimes there is dense fog, enshrouding everything in mysterious halos and giving true scope and depth to the valley scenery. Other days are crystal clear, with pale pastel hues slowly lighting up the sky and highlighting the silhouettes of sparse trees, undulating mountains, and century-old buildings.

And then there are days like this morning, which are magical hybrid of both of the above -- wisps of fog creep and settle throughout the nooks of the valley like sleeping phantoms, while meanwhile the sky is crystal-clear and morning hues can be seen taking hold. Lights glow -- of towns, of hot air balloons firing up and inflating -- yet the darkness is subsiding.

It really is one of the best times to get out for a car ride, a photo expedition, or even just a walk and a breath of fresh morning air.

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