The colors of a new day

Just before dawn at Cape Henlopen State Park. BY RON MACARTHUR
May 24, 2012

Sometimes we get so busy, we forget to take time to simply enjoy what this area has to offer.

I had a chance to do just that as a chosen participant in the first Coastal Sussex Plein Air competition May 7-10. During the competition, a group of more than 60 artists and photographers toured around the Cape Region with brushes, canvases and cameras to capture the natural beauty of the beaches and landscapes.

There is something about sunrise and how everything looks just as the sun breaks the horizon. My plan was to get up early each of the four days of the contest and greet the sunrise, which I did except for the day it rained. Getting up before 6 a.m. is not something I normally do at this point in my life, which is strange because I used to an early-riser. For years and years I got up before sunrise and rode my bike or ran with friends; we watched the sun rise every day. I miss that.

Anyway, it was an inspirational experience to stand and wait for the colors of the new day. It's amazing how quickly the sun takes over the sky and the subtle hues of pre-dawn are erased by the gold of the sun. I witnessed the sun come up on the fishing pier in Cape Henlopen State Park, on a bug-infested spit of land at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and at Gordons Pond near Rehoboth Beach.

At every location, I ran into a few of the other artists taking part in the event.

The schedule included Lewes on Monday, Rehoboth Beach on Tuesday, Bethany Beach on Wednesday and Milton and Prime Hook on Thursday. We had to turn in work as the week progressed with the show taking place that weekend at Children's Beach House.

There was some pressure involved getting my six entries printed and framed in short order; I'm not used to that.

I spent about two or three hours each morning doing nothing but taking photographs. Instead of being rushed by a deadline or other appointments, I took my time and looked at the landscapes before me in a new light – the dawn of a new day.


  • Ron MacArthur has lived and worked in Sussex County all his life. As a journalist for more than 40 years, he has covered everything from county and town meetings to presidential visits. He also has a unique perspective having served as an elected official and lived on both sides of the county.

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