We drove into Seattle on New Year’s Eve. I convinced my husband, Gabriel, that we could take some beautiful photos of the fireworks going off over the Space Needle. The night was warm and clear—definitely a treat for the Pacific Northwest, and something we hadn’t seen often in the years we’d lived here. Unfortunately, the idea came a little too late. By the time we entered the city, the streets were full and not a single parking spot was to be found for miles. We quickly turned around and set back for home, celebrating the beginning of the New Year in our car while stopped at a red light. That’s one way to do it!
Not to be deterred, I decided that before dawn, it would be worth the risk to drive 70 miles in the opposite direction to see if we could see the sunrise over Mt. Rainier from beautiful Gig Harbor, Washington. It was a risk, because often the mountain is covered over by early morning fog, and you just never know if you’re going to be successful. This time, it was a risk that paid off!
For 45 minutes, we stood in awe as we watched the most beautiful dawn break open over the Gig Harbor marina. The stillness of the water, the impressive mountain and the colors that unfolded had me mesmerized. I didn’t want to look anywhere else…until this caught my eye. I had never seen ivy shaped so distinctly as this before. Hearts on a vine, glistening with the morning frost.
As I stood taking pictures, a woman approached us with her camera in hand. Also a photo enthusiast, she had come to photograph the sunrise. I told her that there was just one small detail of the scene that bothered me—a tree that seemed out of place, that interrupted my view of the mountain. She told us that if we drove around the marina and followed it to the end, we would come up to an area with an unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier. That’s all I needed to hear!
When we reached the spot she described, the sun had risen just a little higher in the sky, just above the mountaintop. Steam was rising on the Puget Sound. For the second time that morning, I witnessed something I had never seen before. In that moment, I felt the pleasure and the presence of God.
It’s no wonder this photograph became the cover for my book Powerful Moments in the Presence of God. I can’t think of any image more fitting than this. I’m so glad that my publisher, Chosen Books, agreed!
For more frequent updates, be sure to “Like” my Facebook page, Inspiring Faith with Lorraine Varela. I look forward to connecting with you there!