Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Race

It’s funny how something as simple as the colors of the setting sun on the underside of clouds can make me smile. Last evening, for a few moments, the bottom edges of the clouds were a bright and intense shade of salmon.

I was driving home from work, caught up in evening traffic and the hurry to get home. I race home as I’ve been resisting leaving the porch light on in the mornings when I leave, even though there’s hardly any light left in the sky when I pull up the driveway. I hurry in the hopes that it won’t be dead dark when I get home, and I’ll still be able to see well enough to get out of the car and into the house..

Fear of higher electric bills this winter has prompted me to new heights of conservation. The thermostat is set at 60oF. The bed is heavy with all the blankets I’ve put on it to keep me warm in a cool house. And the porch light is left off, though this makes the walk from the car and up the front steps dangerously dark. I keep telling myself to put a flashlight in my carry-all, but so far I’ve forgotten to do that. So I hurry home, trying to beat the dying light for yet one more day. I’ve given up trying to get home to walk the dogs before the light is gone, but I still like to get into the house with enough light left from day that I don’t fall on my face.

Yesterday, I was still 8-9 miles from home when the sun dropped behind the mountain, and for a brief moment that light still lit the clouds, creating a beautiful picture in front of me. It was so beautiful that for a moment I just enjoyed the sight and forgot about the race home, the waiting dogs and the darkened driveway.

The natural world often does this to me--wakes me up from my own worries and self-imposed deadlines. It’s one reason I can’t imagine living in a city. I would miss so much, so much of the beauty and fury of the natural world, so much of life, so many little surprises that turn a day from just another day into something magical and amazing. I need these natural moments to remind me how beautiful life is and how lucky I am to see it.

But today is another day, and I’ve still forgotten that flashlight. Maybe tomorrow.

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