“Take the time to stop and think, and watch the sky turn purple pink, and watch the day become the night, and thank the stars for love and light.”
These four lines by Dallas Clayton, who writes kids’ books, are a tribute to the overwhelming good that exists around us and the people and places who cherish it.
‘Take the time to stop and think’
In the icy blue-white stillness of winter, Wyoming lends the perfect backdrop for taking pause.
The new year can be a time to reset the clock, believe in something new or promise yourself to make the next year better than the last. Or, it can be time for reflection on how you’ve grown through the year, what knocked you down and how you stood back up. For me, being outside always leads to reflection; since the mountains and valleys are so vastly old and wiser than I will ever be, being present in their grandeur means getting a taste of what they’ve seen in a million years in the wild.
‘And watch the sky turn purple pink’
We’ve had some wicked good sunrises this year, and lots of snow, so if you have a sidewalk you’ve probably caught a few colors while shoveling. You’ve been shoveling, right?
This time of year, everything seems white. If you miss the sunrise, you can forget all the colors that make up our world. But, even with cloud cover, there is constant richness from the golds, browns and blacks peeking through the snow. If we go too quickly, we miss these strong and enduring roots that stay standing so that come spring, blossoms of every color can burst forth in celebration.
‘And watch the day become the night’
Extra-fun fact: This is the best place to watch the sun rise and set, because, with the Bighorns to the south, you never need to look away to avoid sun-blindness. That’s a big deal!
But in all seriousness, if you blink – or are buried in emails – you can still miss it. However, if you make the time, the mountains allow the sunset to linger. The spotlight dances from the peaks to the sky and back again with renewed energy, while your eyes adjust to the dusk. There are few things so comforting — so humbling — as remembering that every morning the sun will rise and every evening the sun will set. It’s worth the time, I’d say.
‘And thank the stars for love and light’
Gratitude rocks. Yes, I’ll thank the stars… and the crisp, clear air through which to see them; the open spaces in which each of us can adventure; the forever welcoming arms of nature; and this place and a community I get to call home… because all the people in this world are this deserving, but very few are this lucky.
Clayton’s four short lines can apply to anywhere in the world where you feel a sense of place, a sense of peace or a sense of belonging. They’ve become my favorite grace. Happy New Year!
Katie Belton is the creative director with the Sheridan Community Land Trust.