Should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes

Though I don’t talk about him as much these days, John Mayer will always be the musician of my soul. His music has gotten me through some pretty tumultuous years, that’s for sure, and snippets of his songs often provide the background noise of my experiences.

I woke up at 4 a.m. Saturday, showered and threw myself into my car en route to Cove Point, Maryland. Our photography club had gotten special permission to shoot a sunrise at this gorgeous lighthouse along the Chesapeake Bay. Despite the fact that I’m a crazy shedevil first thing in the morning, my mom and I decided to make the 50-minute trek. We got to the lighthouse just as the sky was beginning to lighten.

I can count on one hand the number of sunrises I’ve seen. And I don’t count watching pretty hues paint the sky as I was headed to an early shift or an airport; I mean sunrises I really watched, from beginning to end, doing nothing but stare at the horizon.

It was freezing by the water. The wind kicked off the bay and cut right through my thin wool coat. As we stepped onto the beach, wet sand soaking my sneakers, I struggled to find my footing. It didn’t matter, though; I was fixated on the changing light, watching how quickly the clouds morphed in the stillness. Hours later, after the sky had turned bright blue, I thought about how rewarding it is to see a day from beginning to end.

And I thought about John, of course. About “3×5,” a song from his first album — an album I’ve listened to countless times, memorizing each breath. Though it’s one of my favorite tunes, it’s been so long since I listened to “Room For Squares.” I played it later.

“You should have seen that sunrise
With your own eyes
It brought me back to life.
You’ll be with me next time
I go outside
No more three by fives . . .”

I think about that song from time to time: about how sometimes it’s more important to soak up a moment than try to document it. Though it pained me, I chose not to bring my camera to Erin’s wedding last fall. I knew I’d be more obsessed with taking pictures of every detail than enjoying my good friend’s union, enjoying being a bridesmaid.

But sometimes we get lucky, as I did on Saturday. At Cove Point, I did both. I stayed in the moment and I documented the moment. It’s magic when that happens.

My souvenirs of that morning — my photos, which I’ll share on Wednesday — are great, but the real take-away is how it felt to stand on a cold beach as the world woke up. You really do feel like it’s you alone on an island, the only person left in the universe, and that everything is yours for the taking.

The Modern Latte Goldilocks

pumpkinOK, enough messing around — I have found the perfect pumpkin spice latte. I know you’re all chuckling to yourselves right now, probably shaking your heads sadly as you realize yes, I’m obsessing about a tasty seasonal drink again. But since you all know me well enough to know my quirkiness and coffee devotion is just another of my cutesy quirks, humor me for, oh, one more blog post. (Or a few more — it depends on how much I’d like to wax philosophical here. I’m thinking very much.)

My friend Kelly’s birthday was this past weekend and, devoted friend that I am, I forgot. In order to make it up to her, I hopped in my car and got myself over to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts this morning. I managed to get inside with all of my appendages, which was a miracle in itself — those people in the drive-through line do not play. I was pretty sure one angry SUV driver was going to mow me down as I dared to cross in front of him to, you know, get inside the shop. I can barely open my eyelids too, people. Let’s play nice.

So I narrowly make it inside, order Kelly’s birthday donuts and casually glance around at all the brightly-colored ads around the store advertising — what else? — the pumpkin-flavored stuff they have. I resisted the temptation to get a pumpkin donut or muffin but the allure of a frothy, delicious latte was way more than I could handle. I may put on a great show, but my self-restraint can only take me so far!

And let me tell you — it’s perfection. Yes, I will boldly say that Dunkin’ Donuts’ pumpkin spice latte is the best pumpkin spice latte. Ever. Starbucks’ is great, yes — and I do enjoy the frappuccino version, too. But it’s got a tinge of bitterness to it and, no matter how much cream or sugar you pour in that puppy, you’re always very much aware that you’re drinking coffee. And Panera’s latte? Yummy, yes, but it’s actually overly sweet. Like licking pumpkin syrup from the bottom of the cup. Much more of a dessert than anything.

So here I am: Meg, the Modern Latte Goldilocks. Because Dunkin’s version? Oh, yes — it’s just right.

Do yourself a favor and grab one. Like, today, if you can. Because I have a feeling a nationwide Dunkin’ Donuts latte shortage will be happening in the very near future . . . because, you know, I’m really thirsty. And fall comes but once a year!