I’ve been lucky in that both my careers, teaching and shepherding, have given me the added gift of being able to witness glorious sunrises due to the ridiculously early start to my days.
In my teaching days, especially in winter, I’d be on my way to school at sunrise. There was something magical about greeting the very beginnings of a brand new day as it was just beginning, and my brain was teeming with all the “today we must accomplish” things of the day I would be spending with my beloved sixth graders. Sunrise always gave me moments of transcendent beauty when I could pause, breathe, and be in the moment – moments I could draw upon as the day progressed in its madcap, middle school ways.
These days, I take in the sunrise with sheep, dogs, chickens, and cats. They surround me as the sun rises, and I take in those first moments of light to the accompaniment of chewing, ruminating (literally), slurping, and clucking. I like to think that my critters enjoy the beginning of their day as I do – that they, too, feel that gift that each sunrise is: a new day, a new beginning, a new chance to shape something good.
I don’t know that I was really aware of sunsets in my previous life the way that I can be now. I was always racing home from work to pick up kids, take them here, there, and everywhere, make dinner, help with homework and projects, and then turn to my students’ work and prep for the next day. But, I am making up for that now.
These days, I take care to pause whatever I’m doing to be witness to the end of the day, as well. Not every day goes as planned, but the sun remains generous in her shared beauty as she dips away into the horizon, promising her gifts for the next day.