Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Goodbye, Hello!

I shoved my feet into Randy's boots, zipped up my heavy coat and ventured out to watch the final sunset of 2017 Sunday evening.

Earlier, I kept lifting the curtain on the front door and peaking out to see if the sunset would be worth leaving my nice warm house and my good book. The thermometer hadn't gotten above 7 degrees all day, and wind chills put the temperature well below zero.

But there's only one time to see the final sunset of a year, so I compromised. I used Randy's boots which were inside the house and, unlike mine, not on the frigid confines of the back porch. And I drove to the corner south to watch the final moments of day transition to night ... and likewise, to begin the transition from 2017 to 2018.

I then decided to use my "sunrise tree" from a different perspective. I drove past it, did a 3-point turn and then turned my camera to the west.
With the end of 2017 documented, I decided I'd also photograph the first sunrise of 2018.  True confessions: I probably should have gotten up a little earlier on New Year's Day. It's not like I'd been partying the night before. In fact, I didn't make it to midnight. But it was a holiday, so I decided not to set my alarm as early as usual.

I looked at the newspaper to find the time for sunrise and set the alarm for 15 minutes before that. My first shot of 2018 was similar to my final one of 2017. My sunrise tree - located to the corner south and just a bit to the east - was my "model" as the sun rose for the first time in 2018 in south central Kansas.
There were fewer clouds than the night before, so the colors painted the horizon without frills and texture.
I drove a little further to the east to another of my favorite sunrise spots - a windmill in a neighbor's pasture.
And then I ended my cold foray into 2018 in my own backyard, taking a photo of our old silo. I watched as a jet painted a streak in the sky, an unexpected symbol of moving forward into the new year.

This morning, I again opened a book I've been reading as part of my Advent devotionals, While We Wait: Living the Questions of Advent by Mary Lou Redding.

A shot of the tree before Christmas 2017
I sat in our living room with the Christmas tree still aglow, knowing that I've put "taking down the Christmas stuff" on my to-do list today. And I read these words:
We do seem in a hurry sometimes to put away Christmas. ... 'When it's over, it's over.' ... We also seem in a hurry after Christmas to box up once again our patience, our tolerance, our generosity and put them back in the attic, as if we can sustain good behavior for a few weeks but wouldn't want to risk making it a way of life. We may also put away our willingness to give a bit more, to be more forgiving, even to be more patient, as we often are during the holidays. Perhaps we even box up our desire to hope and our openness to miracles and mystery, as if the messages of the Christmas stories can't quite survive the rigors of real life the rest of the year. The Magi call us to continue our observance of Christ's coming after December is over.
Mary Lou Redding
Thankfully, the Light of the World came. He doesn't go away when we pack away the treetop angel or try to stuff the greenery and stockings inside the plastic tub of holiday decorations for another year.

And I'm reminded of that truth when I view His magnificent writing on the sky - whether it's the last sunset of the year ... the first sunrise of the year ... or any time in between.

Here's hoping you see the sunrises and sunsets of life in 2018 with new eyes and new hope. Happy New Year from The County Line!


  1. Totally love your new header, Kim.
    Another wonderful post and message.
    We had planned to drive to a lookout with a view over the city and to the west to watch the seting sun of 2017. Plans cancelled when yet another storm rumbled through, dumping more heavy rain. Since Christmas night, 6 storms have dropped 200mm / 8 inches of rain.

    1. I took that photo in January of last year when we had an ice storm. We'd sure like some of your moisture. We haven't had any since September - in liquid or solid form.