I open my eyes to awake to a dark, quiet bedroom. My girlfriend sleeps beside me to my left. The tv gives off an ominous glow as it sits across the room in sleep mode. I glance over at my phone to check the time.

The time reads “6:47 AM Thursday, February 8”. I lay on my back staring at the ceiling thinking to myself what I needed to do. No alarm clock woke me up. I just knew I needed to get up so I could capture a picture of the sunrise. This was important to me.

The night before I sat in my living room and wrote out nine different areas that I have the most interest in. I then took each of those areas and began to come up with goals and ideas for each one. I started with photography and wrote down several ideas, but one of the more tangible goals I wrote down was that I wanted to capture the sunset and sunrise for five to seven straight days.

So, as I lay on my bed there trying not to fall into bad habits I thought to myself a single quote that I was sure that I’ve heard before.

“The journey of a thousand men begins with a single step”, is what I kept repeating to myself. It is a quote by Loa Tzu that I completely botched. The correct quote is actually written as “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. 

No matter which way you choose to write it, I have come to find that it means the same for me. That being, In order to reach the goals and heights I aspire to I have to take that first step. I need to take that first discrete action. I need to do what others aren’t willing to do. I need to begin my journey of a thousand miles.

I looked at the weather app to find that sunrise was at 7:20 AM, so I repeated the botched version of that quote to myself as a quietly got ready for the day without waking my girlfriend. I threw on my coat, grabbed gloves, my camera, and my backpack to set out on my first step.

You see Morgantown, West Virginia is a place I have called home for almost five years now. A college town built-in the mountains covered by fog and clouds. Many of our days here are overcoats of gray. I walked down to the rail trail that runs beside the Monongahela River to attempt to capture the sunrise from there. I quickly realized that I would not be able to see it from there. This did not stop me from capturing a few keepers. This first step was less about me capturing today’s sunrise, but more so about me capturing the light within myself to move closer to my dreams and goals.m

Not being able to see the sunrise gave me an even greater resolve. We don’t always watch the sunrise, but we know it still rises. For me, this means that sometimes you have to work for your goals in the dark. We have to envision what we want for ourselves even when obstacles stop us from seeing them.

Attached below are some of the shots I captured this morning. Please feel free to check them out and share this. Have a great day and thank you for reading!