Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sky Watch

I often look out my front door in the late afternoon/early evening. It's an informal sky watch, a reflex as natural as thinking about what I'll cook for Randy's supper. As a sunset aficionado, I'm contemplating my chances for a stellar sky as day slips quietly into night.

Clear skies at sunset are usually boring. On a clear evening, the sun may be bright, and it may look like a red fireball sinking toward the horizon. There is beauty in that, to be sure. But clouds provide the texture. Think of the clouds as the painter’s canvas on which the sun paints its warm colors.

It was on such an evening that we made the short drive to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. With some of the water rights issues between Quivira and the farming community, I haven't wanted to give a lot of publicity to the refuge. I'm sure nobody but me knew I was "boycotting." Kind of silly, right?

But on this particular night, the thought of a beautiful sunset sky over a body of water lured me back.
It didn't disappoint.
Even though the sun only broke through for a brief moment, it was all part of the show. The only living creatures we saw were ducks, geese and sandhill cranes winging their way back to the refuge and getting "tucked in" for the night after feeding in nearby fields.

We could hear the songbirds as they called to one another, and we saw an occasional ripple in the water caused by a turtle or fish.
I'd make brief trips to the pickup to get out of the breeze as the sun departed and left behind the chill of evening. But we stayed until there was hardly any light left behind to make sure we didn't miss a thing.

I've been thinking about sunsets and Covid-19. How can beauty and such an ugly virus be spoken in the same sentence? How could they possibly relate?

Cloudy skies elicit the most beautiful sunsets. Maybe "cloudy" times in our lives can help us to see things differently - to find the beauty in simple things.
While I much prefer seeing my family in person, I am so thankful for technology that still lets us "see" each other. How else could I see Brooke's animation and facial expressions? While I much prefer gathering for worship in our beautiful sanctuary, I appreciate the technology that enables us to "meet" as a community on a Sunday morning.

I've read posts from families who've dug old games out from the back of closets. Dinners around the table are a lot easier when there aren't the ballgames and dance lessons and meetings and the other "things" that clutter our lives with busyness. Those things are all good, but maybe, just maybe, being at home helps us take a breath.

Maybe it gives us time to look at the sunset and not worry about the things that are left undone. (And, of course, I'm not saying the virus itself is good. We can just find the good in a bad situation.)
One other night last week, we drove to a windmill a couple of miles away for another sunset "date."  And again, I left feeling thankful. 
Like the barbed wire, Covid-19 has us feeling confined and closed in. But we see example all over of positive responses - from teachers in impromptu "parades" waving to school children to hearts plastered on windows in the #aworldofhearts movement to "bear hunts" with stuffed bears peeking out of front windows, giving children something fun to look at on walks - and still maintain the ability to remain 6 feet away from their neighbors. 
Maybe my middle-of-nowhere location doesn't allow me to participate in all of those things.
  But it sure doesn't keep me from seeking the sunset. 
The end. Or at least ... the final one of that night.
 Be well everyone! Hoping you find the beauty amidst the clouds, too.


  1. Totally relate to this post. Sunsets and alas the convirus. There is so much beauty coming out between the clouds.
    Thank you.

    1. Good to hear from you, Helen. I hope you and Frank - as well as your walking buddies - are doing as well as can be expected during this unexpected journey.