The skies of north Georgia are beautiful. I admit this freely now. I often stop to photograph daybreak and dawn, sunset, dusk and twilight.
As a Georgia native, there were many things I enjoyed outdoors growing up, but I can’t recall appreciating the sky on the fringes of day.
Florida was a different story. I lived there off and on for many years, and 2009 is the first time I recall pausing at the sight of the setting sun.
Driving across a bridge, I witnessed the huge orb sinking below the horizon. Once bright blue sky, now dotted with clouds and awash in orange and purple and pink, I wanted to pull over in awe. Instead I offered prayers of appreciation. I couldn’t believe my good fortune to live amidst such beauty.
Soon after that I created a habit of being outside for sunrise and sunset whenever possible. Backdrops of water were nice, but not required. I ran at first light, and evenings I journaled, took pictures, or simply witnessed beauty.
One day the sunset was so majestic, I rushed back to my apartment to grab my phone. I absolutely had to to share it with my new guy friend, Blue. Serendipitous moment, as he saw a similarly beautiful sunset 500 miles away. He performed some over the shoulder acrobatics to capture his for me. Our sunset texts arrived moments apart.
The symbolism of our spontaneous exchange was sweet. But I didn’t picture myself appreciating the Georgia sun quite the same as in Florida.
Soon enough, I moved back to the Peach State and I missed Florida’s beauty for months. I was homesick for its breathtaking views, and I did not have a heart of appreciation for my current circumstances.
Finally I remembered I could seek beauty wherever I was. It was easy to find once I looked.
Within days I gave Mother Nature some credit for the green trees everywhere I looked. Later on I found the many birdsongs quite cheerful. I noticed and enjoyed new fragrances and sounds during my outdoor runs. And yes, the sunrises and sunsets were beautiful after all. Even the midday clouds capture my attention now.
The beauty has always been here. Now my heart can see it.