Morning Surprise

I glanced out the kitchen window Tuesday morning to see the scene above, a brilliant pre-sunrise wash of pink in the sky behind the bare branches of oaks and maples. It didn’t last long, this dawn display of color. It was just one of those fleeting moments of beauty that the natural world offers up now and then, totally free. I had lots of things to do that day — deadlines and commitments — but I tried to pause long enough to take in this fine moment.

This kind of moment occurs frequently in a place like Duluth, with Lake Superior at our doorstep. We glance up from the morning traffic to see a band of gold light reaching across the lake toward us. Or we look up leaving work in the evening to see the new moon rocking in the cobalt western sky. We step out to walk the dog at night and see the northern lights weaving in the sky. We don’t expect these treats. They’re just there, waiting for us to claim when the moment is right.

I suspect that similar beautiful scenes appear over cornfields in Nebraska or coastal dunes in the Northeast or in Arizona’s high desert. The trick is taking in the gift when it appears.