In Cana of Galilee

The Blue Hour

Family holiday at Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal.

At five in the morning, Frankie’s alarm clock rang. Time to get up for an early morning hike to catch the sun rising over the waters of the lake. Frankie, who is almost 20 and has a passion for photography, had always wanted to photograph what’s known as the “blue hour”, the few short moments before the sun rises that delight photographers. The price to pay was to get out of bed at an unseemly time of the morning and make the half-hour hike to the exact spot as indicated on an app on his phone. All things beautiful require a little effort in exchange.

So Frankie walked through the early morning hours from the village where we were staying to the lake over the dam, listening to the sounds of nature all around. Once he reached the dam wall he prepared his equipment and then stood there, waiting.

Finally the “blue hour” arrived and Frankie contemplated in ecstasy the silent transfiguration of the mountains as they abandoned the darkness of the night to be immersed in the magnificent light of the day… A majestic miracle and yet so quick. A daily miracle and yet so distant from our daily life.

When he returned home in time for breakfast, Frankie was radiant. The photos in his camera were proof that this was not a montage: such a beautiful hour!

All that day as I walked along mountain trails with my family, savoring each moment, I found myself thinking…

Life is little more than a “blue hour” – a few brief, very brief, moments that precede the true Dawn. It will arrive for all of us whether we’re sleeping or whether, like Frankie on that early morning, we’re ready and waiting. And I firmly believe that it’s worth jumping out of bed early and walking through the night to meet it, however cold, whatever fear or tiredness we feel, with the Word of God at hand as our best app or compass.

I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord (Ps 130 / 129: 6-7)



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