Season Change. Sunrise.

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“I wonder how many sunrise and sunset photos I’ve taken since we moved back to the ranch?” I asked my husband as I threw on my robe this morning and rushed downstairs for my camera.

The first thing I do when I open my eyes in the morning is to turn around and look out the window at the horizon, hoping for a show, hoping for a nice day or rain or snow or whatever it is I want from the sky, as if the sky ever cared about our personal wishes.

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“Thousands,” Husband replied as he poured a cup of coffee.

“I wonder if any of them look the same,” I asked out loud, knowing the answer. Knowing that sunrises and sunsets are like snowflakes.

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It’s the time of year when everything is starting to lose its color. Most of the leaves on the trees have dried up and turned brown, the other half, the oaks, for some reason this year are hanging on to a dull green, dropping their acorns and refusing to turn.

I can relate…

For the next seven months, a glowing sunrise and a pink sunset will be a welcome pop of color on a barren white landscape and I will find myself pulling on my big boots and rushing out to the tops of hills to stand under it, willing the color, the warmth, to absorb into my skin and warm me up.

Yes, it’s that time of year where we panic a bit, rushing to get the things done that we promised ourselves we would tackle in July, but then there was that concert and then the lake and then the party on the deck with the margaritas…

Now we have fences to build, garages to clean, boats and campers that didn’t really get used as much as intended to pack up and winterize. Soon the calves will be weaned and the horses will put on their long, scruffy coats.

Which reminds me, I have to find my hats and gloves. Dig out my sweaters.

Because the snow could come any day now. The sky could cloud up, the wind could blow just right, and then it will be too late for things like grilling burgers drilling holes into the ground for fence posts. Because the ground will be frozen solid, shut down and dormant with the frogs and the flies and snakes and the squirmy things that only come out with the sun.

Some days I feel that way. Like I should hole up under the earth like a frog, find a spot in a tree somewhere like those frantic squirrels hoarding all those acorns and squawking in the trees outside my window in the morning when I wake up to look at the sky and will the sun to shine….

Three hundred and fifty-some days a year…

We are honing in pretty close to a new year and ringing it in by, you know, bringing in a new house. It seems to be a pattern for us, making big changes at the end of the year. Three years ago we closed on our first home and spent the next two years renovating it during any spare time we were granted. Last year, on December 30th to be exact, we signed it away, every brick, board and painstakingly varnished door and have spent the next three hundred and fifty-some days between then and now planning how we might look in our new house.

It’s funny how quickly three hundred and fifty-some days go by when you spend it with your eye on the future while still trying to be all the things you need and want to be in the present.

And in those days, in those moments, we have been many things: cooks, cowboys, fly-swatters, lawn-mowers, photographers, poets, travelers, an uncle and an aunt, friends and big mistake-makers.

We have been dreamers and planners, singers and wanderers, sun bathers and bundled up for the cold.

On the weekends we were lazy, party-goers or two people making pancakes together in the kitchen as the light streamed through the window. And sometimes we were on a mission, to tear something old down, to clean something up, to pull weeds or cut the grass…living and busting our asses in the present for a more cleaned up tomorrow.

And sometimes our only mission was one another.

The hair on our head grew, some turned gray. Our favorite jeans turned into work pants, things were lost and never found and then, to our surprise, things that we thought were gone for good were recovered.

We’ve had conversations, countless conversations, about family and life and where we might be two years, ten years, fifty years from now. We have remembered together where we once were and laughed at how different things can be in just a short three hundred and fifty some days.

We have counted our blessings.

Yes, we have had some time to prepare for this change that is right around the corner, for a move, for the plan we had all along. Three hundred and fifty-some days to build new walls and roads and move some dirt and snow and rocks and trees and old equipment out-of-the-way, fitting a little work, a little planning into the spaces of time between breakfast and dinner at night… and still we’re not quite ready. The day doesn’t hang on long enough for us to find the right place for every nail, just as it doesn’t quite hold onto the light long enough to allow us to be all of the things we want to be, all the things we can be, in a day.

In a year.

In a lifetime.

There’s never enough time, the work is never done, all the lessons will never quite be learned. And there were days in there that I didn’t want to move away from the little stream of light that peeked through the curtains of my tiny room. There were days my head was spinning with the to-d0 list and the realization that there may be dreams of ours that just won’t come true.

I keep a few of those days in my pocket to take out when I need them. Just a few.

Because I have never been one to focus on the things I cannot change, at least not for very long. Because some of those things we cannot control have been the best things…the most certain things of all.

Like how the sun always rises over the barn

and falls on the other side of the earth behind my parents house.

Every day.

Reminding us that we can build houses, and fences and plant potatoes in the earth and drive down roads we’ve built to take us to places we’ve never been and places we need to go to survive, but in the whole wide world there is nothing more important than that big wide sky and the fact that, for another day, we get to live under it as it moves and changes and puts on a show.

And as we have been counting each time it rises, marking our calendars and making plans that are bound to fail at some point, it comforts me, it lifts a little bit of weight off of my shoulders to know that the sun only has one mission, day after day…

to rise and shine and make its way across the sky…

Because, you know, we’re not that different from the sun really.

At least three hundred and fifty-some days a year…