I believe everything can be put into perspective by looking up at the sky.
As a kid, I loved sitting in the hammock on summer nights looking at the stars - I felt so amazed - in wonder and awe that I was here in the vastness of the universe. I found it both settling and invigorating all at once.
One of my favorite childhood memories was sitting with my Dad on the deck. Wispy clouds danced across the night sky. The moon full and bright. Whenever the clouds covered the moon we yelled, “come back moon, come back.” It did every time. We laughed and laughed as we looked up, side by side, father and daughter. We felt like co-conspirators commanding the night sky to do our bidding while fireflies darted around us.
One spring day, when my daughter was three years old, she beckoned me to lay down on the grass with her. We looked up at the clouds. She wanted us to name what we saw in them. At first, I thought to myself, “they’re just clouds. That’s all they look like.” But then I saw a turtle and she pointed out a dog. And I realized, they are clouds, they are what our imaginations make of them - much like life. And I felt the thrill of possibility.
The other day, my virtual coworking colleague stopped what she was doing so she could run up to her rooftop to take in a colorful sunset over New York City. She apologized. I told her I could think of no better use of her time!
I have been stopped in my tracks by many mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets right outside my home.
In the mornings, I find peace in my comfy chair, conveniently aimed east. A beautiful sunrise breathes a little more life into my day.
The sky has given me much solace lately. When grappling with hard to hear news. When facing a torrent of uncertainty. When my mind carries me down the way of what-if worries. I’ll go for a walk along the trail. The fresh air helps. But it’s the sky that settles my nerves and brings me home to myself.
A Great Blue Heron taking flight reminds me how spectacular and majestic life is. And my worries become diluted by the wonders of the world. Wonders that are right here, available to me and everyone free of charge. All we have to do is lookup.
This piece was originally written for This I Believe... a community event held annually for the New Year in my neighborhood (inspired by the NPR program).