Delightful Distractions During A Sunrise Over Canyonlands

Sunrise Over Canyonlands, Moab UtahOn this morning my two oldest boys and I woke up at 4AM to start our trek and after a pitch dark one hour's drive and then a fifteen minute hike we arrived.

I hoped the frigid air and early hours would keep people away, I was very wrong. There were several photographers lined up for the sun's appearance this crisp November morning in 2021. One couple had even spent the night in the parking lot to the trailhead of Mesa Arch!

While I waited like a scavenger to squeeze in for a shot at the arch my two young boys went exploring.

I had just settled in to exactly where I wanted to be, still shoulder-to-shoulder with other photographers. Totally getting flashbacks to shooting stars on red carpets when my kids approached me, "Dad, you got to come up here. It's soooo cool."

I couldn't help but think, "Kids, we are here for this Arch! Why do you want me to leave? Sunrise is about to occur! Get out of my hair!"

I'm bald, by the way.

They insisted, so I left my tripod there at the cliff's edge in front of Mesa Arch, guarding my spot, and followed them up a rocky hill just to the right of us.

Writing this now the irony hits me like rain on my wedding day; I left thousands of dollars of equipment to guard a spot!

But that lets you know the priceless value of a spot at Mesa Arch for sunrise and amongst Utah sunrise hunters the code is clear, someone's stuff protects their spot and the community protects the stuff!

Following my sons up the steep hill I gasped at this scene.

Realizing I had been fixated on what I thought was the star of the show (the arch) it occurred to me, at the arch I was literally struggling and competing to fit in!

But here, at the top of the hill, the space hit me like a ton of metaphorical bricks.

When you go your own way, it feels less crowded and more... inspirational?

I rushed down and picked up my tripod as the sun was almost breaking. The other photographers looked at me like I was crazy! I was going to miss THE shot, why would anyone give up the spot we all came here for?

They didn't have the wisdom of kids so they didn't know it was actually the other way around, they were missing this shot!

With this sunrise lesson I think I'm going to try a little harder not to get fixated at even delightful distractions in front of me, lest it be at the expense of the mythical magic nearby!