First Light
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“First Light,” New Era, Sept. 1994, 9

How I Know:

First Light

I didn’t want to go along on this trip. But the next morning, something dawned on me.

One thing we always do as a family is go camping. We have camped in Colorado, Arizona, California, and Utah. Of all those states, I liked Colorado best because of Turquoise Lake.

It isn’t easy to squash seven people into a small car and ride for three straight hours. And to be honest, I wasn’t in a good mood anyway. At the time, I didn’t like camping with my family. Maybe I was going through a phase or something, but my idea of a good time was being at home, where I could use the telephone and hang out with my friends.

We all cheered when Dad announced that we had reached the camp. We couldn’t see the lake from where we were, so my brothers and sister and I started running toward it as soon as we could. Unfortunately Dad was too quick, and he called us all back to set up the tents. He explained that it was almost dark, and we needed to get the work done while we still had daylight.

After a night’s sleep, I woke up the next morning to the sound of a bird chirping merrily from the branches of a tree right above my tent. Mom was already awake getting breakfast started.

“Do you need any help?” I asked.

“Not just yet,” she said.

Just then, I heard a frog croak and a splash coming from the direction of the lake.

Mom said, “Why don’t you take a look at the lake? If you hurry, you’ll be able to see the sunrise.”

Flashing her a grateful smile, I ran toward the hill that separated us from the lake. When I reached the top, I stopped for a moment and gasped, partly because I needed air and partly because the view below me was so beautiful.

The water in the lake was a turquoise color, and so clear I could actually see the fish swimming around in it. There were mountain peaks on the other side of the lake with snow still on them.

It was so quiet without my little brothers and sister running around making noise that I sat down on the hillside and enjoyed the scene that surrounded me. The lake was completely calm when I saw a ripple in the water. Then there was another ripple, and then another. The fish were jumping all around searching for their breakfast.

It was like a play had just begun, and the lake was the stage. The curtains had opened, and the actors had started their parts. From one side I saw a deer leading her fawn to the water’s edge. Next I heard the songs of a group of birds, as they chirped while the sun crept higher and higher. I watched as they flew off together, first turning to the right and then flying to the left and out of sight.

As the sun rose from behind the mountain range, I noticed a squirrel had stopped to watch as the colors of red and yellow filled the sky. We watched together while the sunlight raced across the lake before finally overwhelming us with the warm, first light of day.

Suddenly my thoughts of the moment seemed to change. Along with the rays of warmth, I experienced a type of tingling feeling all over my body as a new understanding filled my spirit. I was no longer just watching this morning miracle, but instead I had become part of the scene in the play. I realized the same immortal being who had created all of this beauty had also created me. I was just as much a piece of his artwork as was the lake, the animals, or the sunrise. It wasn’t until that moment on Turquoise Lake that I really understood that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father.

Illustrated by Cary Henrie