I’ve been working more hours… leaving home right after sun-up (I stand at the kitchen window sipping my coffee and admiring the sunrise…sometimes I step out and say hello to the little dog next door), and when I return from work, for a few fleeting moments, I’m privileged to witness a sunset. Such as it is for millions of folks– those fortunate enough to have jobs. But as I look at the wisps of diminishing clouds, and try to record this watercolor sky for memory, I am filled with the silent regret and longing of having lost another day of the natural world.
I once had a temporary job in a government office, and I referred to the surroundings as “Gray Land”. Gray walls, gray desks, gray carpet, gray copy machines. The women who held permanent jobs had taken years to climb the ladder for the high-paying positions they had. Insurance, sick leave, vacation, retirement… but they gave up their daily lives to achieve this level. They spent years inside Gray Land, in rooms without windows, dealing with government bureaucracy and red tape. I would occasionally escape to the copy room and stare out the window at a store parking lot next door where people were coming and going, greeting one another, breathing the air, feeling the sunshine, and interacting with something other than a form to fill out or another government guideline that had changed, once again… and would most likely be changing again tomorrow. I was an excellent Worker Bee but I missed a season of perfect temperatures and the best roses I had ever grown. Frankly, I’d rather live a day of nature than live a day of work.
So when I return home each evening, I drop my purse and mail inside the front door, and I take a few moments to sit on the front steps and try to catch the fading light of the day. I look at the tree silhouettes, watch a dry leaf tumble-down the sidewalk, witness a bird’s silent flight, and catch the sound of the train south of town. I feel as if I have to soak up all of nature that I can, or I’ve lost something special that I can never reclaim.
And now, with the Christmas season in full swing, the work pace has quickened. Colored lights decorate area homes, and people are shopping, shopping, shopping. I don’t believe God intended humankind to rush to and fro. We do so many things during the day while taking our health, wealth, and possessions for granted. Life is what happens while we’re busy doing something else…
I want to celebrate the “simple” things of God’s creation; petting a dog, hearing a cat purr, observing a bird as it takes a drink, listening to tree branches scrape against each other in the wind, the voice and laughter of a child, the scent of wood smoke in the air. Life… It’s too good to miss.
The photos above: across the street from my front porch.