Sunrise 37: Ault Park (Post-Storm Sunrise, Grassy Meadow & Young Berries)
I woke up this morning at 5:55am and hit the snooze button. I should have taken notice when my alarm first went off and I couldn’t hear it; perhaps snoozing wasn’t the best idea. We had a floor fan turned on that was generating lots of white noise, perfect for sleeping but not perfect for hearing a phone alarm on the lowest volume setting. I woke up in a fury at 6:21am, 3 minutes past sunrise. Was I too late?
Last night we had a behemoth of storms come through at around 8:00pm. Tornadoes were spotted in the sky up north and roofs were blown off of restaurants. I was actually out biking last night, likely feeling the itch after staying inside during the electrical armageddon of yesterday morning, and got up in the storm. Nothing gets the old legs pumping faster up the hills than running from a mega-storm. I was actually down by Lunken Airport last night when I noticed the dark thunder head rolling in from the west. My sister-in-law took a great picture of the storm moving about 50 miles up north in Dayton, OH:
I actually almost got blown off the bike a few times as I was cranking up the 250ft accent from the river basin to Mt. Lookout.
Back to the morning wakeup. I leaped out of bed and threw on my clothes. I looked outside – a light gray sky indicating a possible overcast scenario. Good! I thought. At least I won’t miss anything! I was out the door by 6:24am.
As I pushed up to the park, I noticed how sweet the air smelled. It wasn’t raining by now, and in fact the atmosphere and ambient lighting was getting brighter by the minute. The air had that after-rain smell to it, (I recently learned this is called petrichor) and the trees were still dripping. As I climbed the hill, I noticed that the sky had started to burst open in a light orange color. I pedaled as quickly as I could, mentally kicking myself for not being more prepared for a perfect “after-storm” sunrise. I’ve been noticing a lot of incoming google hits for phrases relating to “the sky after a storm” and “kinds of clouds after a storm” so I realized that this could be a great sunrise that I didn’t want to miss.
As I pulled up to the overlook, I realized that I had lucked out. There was a thick cloud bank sitting just above the horizon. This gave me an extra 15 minutes before the sun made a delayed, but powerfully orange, sunrise. I made it with about 60 seconds to spare before the sun crested over the lower atmospheric cloud ridge. The colors were a powerful orange that highlighted the light whisps of upper atmospheric clouds. I tried not to get too carried away, taking only a picture when it felt like the composition was appropriate. But within about 5 minutes of cresting, the sun was hidden by the upper pieces of the cloud front. It never did recover from this obstruction until I was on my way home an hour later, well past prime sunrise time but appropriate for “great lighting for pictures” time. The window for the perfect vibrant orange sunrise this morning lasted a mere four minutes from 6:35am – 6:39am. Future time travelers take notice.
I decided to take a ride through the arboretum, but the recently obscured sun left little light to get a decently focused picture. This young rose bush had only a handful of blooms. I couldn’t decide between these two pictures (the first one is darker and I like the full framing of the leaves, but the second one is a bit more in focus on the bloom) so you get both of them.
I continued down to the Observatory entrance to Ault Park. Up at the top of the entrance there is a small meadow that is hidden up on the top of a hill. I parked the bike up under a weeping tree – perhaps a peach? – and wandered along the border between the forest and the meadow. The entrance to the “ridge trail” is also here, which provided a nice manicured path. Even with the short grass, however, my shoes probably soaked up a full bucket of water as I walked through the meadow. The sun came out in patches, but with the dark shadows and bright sky it was challenging to get a decent picture.
I came across a mulberry tree and a honey suckle bush. The berry tree has small fruits that are just starting to plump up for a summer of seeding.
the honey suckle seemed to have lost most of its flowers during the storm, but this young bud was strong enough to survive.
After the quick stroll through the wet grass I emerge, drenched, and hop back on my bike to heard home. Not feeling quite up to the task of becoming one with the slowly building rush hour traffic that I’d have to endure if I left the park via Observatory, I turned around and went back into the park to go home through the entrance I typically come in through. There is an entrance to the “Tree Trail” down below the meadow where there are protected trees that represent one of the few remaining patches of original old growth deciduous forest typical in this area after the ice age. I forgot to actually read the information on the trail so this is coming from memory.
Just before leaving the park, the sun came out in a blaze of luminence. There was a small magnolia tree that was blooming in the arboretum and it seemed to have been lit up by the spotlight of the morning sun. I could tell there was a bit of damage from the recent storm, but overall the magnolia blooms were looking radiant.
I was home by 7:40am, just in time for a baked egg and spinach breakfast compliments of my beautiful wife 🙂 As I write this (9:15am) the sky is back to overcast. I wonder how many people in Cincinnati know just how awesome the sunrise was this morning?