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Southern Oregon mountains. (Hadi Dadashian photos)

Early morning sun crests Southern Oregon mountains. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Rising in the dark for a road trip isn’t my favorite way to start a day.

But driving north on I-5, the morning light bathed newly frosted trees with a ghostly yet glamorous sheen.

We watched the freezing fog lift slowly, revealing still-green hillsides and snow-washed mountains.

I am always grateful for this.

I’m grateful for the mountains that surround us in Southern Oregon, and for the vistas they offer early travelers. It’s a thrill to see a snow-dusted mountain from our apartment windows — when the fog hasn’t hidden them from view.

I am so utterly grateful for early morning light that spills, like gold, over the mountains  while the valleys are wreathed with fog.

No matter how far we’ve traveled from home in winter, that spread of gold warms me still.