It is not unusual, especially in spring and early summer, to see mountains on the eastern horizon at sunrise. This is not a mirage, nor is it due to my lack of caffeine while walking at a quarter before sunrise. It has everything to do with Panhandle weather, and when our monsoon-season storms come through.
Monsoon season? Texas panhandle? Yes, because it is overflow from the monsoon-like rains that visit Arizona and New Mexico during the summer. The hot desert generates a low pressure point that draws moisture in from the sub-tropical jet and the Gulf of California. As these flow north, they are lifted (orographic lifting) and storms form. Some also form on the edges of the region, on the Rocky Mountains, and roll east-southeast in the evenings and after dark. Some folks call them the broom, because of how the line sweeps across the landscape.
By dawn they are usually approaching the TX-OK border, putting them between me and the rising sun. It looks like purple-grey mountains, with light shooting out from around them. Then they start turning rose underneath, before fading to white once in the direct light of the morning. Or they disappear below the horizon, or wither away.
I get peeks and hints of phantom mountains between houses and at intersections, and it is fun to imagine what they are like.