There are few places in the world where you can stand in one place to watch the moon set then turn around and watch the sun rise simultaneously. One such place in El Paso, Texas at the top of a road called Transmountain Road that runs through the Franklin Mountains. The state road connects the east – northeast in particular – with the westside of the city.
I arrived at the location with the intention of capturing the sunrise and light streams of passing cars. I knew I had to arrive around 6:30 to catch the rising sun and early morning traffic. To be honest, I was ignorant of the fact that moonset was at the exact same time. I was also oblivious to the fact that this spot on Transmountain Road would allow me to view the start of the day and the end of the day at the very same time.
Needless to say my camera got a workout as did I pivoting back and forth to capture the photographs.
The experience had a profound affect on me as I couldn’t quite work out in my brain what a truly special moment this was. How many places in the world is it possible to see both the sun set and the moon rise with unobstructed views at the same time? I can’t think of many. It was also a special moment to be able to capture the experience with my camera.
The experience also got me to thinking about El Paso’s Franklin Mountains. For me, the mountain range is like an old comforting friend. I see the mountain as a being as opposed to a thing. And, as a being, the mountain must have a mood.
The Franklin Mountains display various moods through- out the day. The temper of the mountain is calm at sunrise, almost in a slumber in the brisk January morning air. There are no giant pine trees to soften the winter wind whipping around my face, no singing birds or running deer to take my eye off the sky. Only high-elevation cacti and desert brush crawl along the slopes and boulders, often jutting out like nature’s high rises on either side of the mountain.
Looking west I see the near-full moon sinking below the horizon. Seconds later, I turn to the east, marveling at a fiery ball nudging above the desert floor, and the royal blue sky rapidly transforms with bursts of splendid golden hues as if Mother Nature’s paintbrush sweeps across the heavens. In an instant natural fireworks fill the sky as the moon sets and sun rises and I watch in awe. A moment passes, and the sun’s rays stretch across East El Paso, tickling the sides of the Franklin Mountains, waking them for another day.