Surprise! Being awake is not enough, you have to be aware

Anti-lock blinking lights and alarms activated as I skidded around the icy corner. Whoops, it was a reminder to slow down and take note of the world around me.  I scanned the ditches for critters that might cross in front of me.  As my glance went to the east, I caught sight of a stunning sunrise and it was a complete surprise.

It surprised me so much that I stopped right in the middle of the road and put the car in reverse to get a better view.  Before you get indignant, keep in mind that I was on a gravel road that bears the traffic of about four vehicles a day, mine included.  Oh, and I did check the rear view mirror before backing up.  What I failed to do was keep my eye on the rear view mirror as I backed up.  I was completely immersed in the beauty of the sky when I realized that I was heading for the ditch.  If you want to mess up your schedule, drive into the ditch on a quiet country road when you are supposed to be on your way to an appointment.

The all-wheel drive and some heavy braking averted a ditch incident.  I straightened out my tracks grateful for the lack of audience on country lanes.  Out came the phone and down went the window.  A couple of clicks later I had two Monet-like photos of the ribbons of pink that draped the eastern sky. They were inadequate visuals of the glory that was painted across the sky.  I stowed the phone and carried on my way.  But that sunrise just kept getting more glorious with every passing moment.

My travels took me east for a while, straight into the fantastic morning sky.  It made me want to sing and cry all at the same time but that seemed like it might be dangerous at highway speeds.  So I just snuck glances at the horizon now and then trying to imprint the wonder into my brain and spirit. I reached my destination only to discover that a calendar snafu had me there several hours prior to the true appointment time.  The folks I had gone to see apologized profusely until I stopped them and asked if they had seen the sunrise.  Neither of them had seen it. Like most of us, they were going about their day, awake but not aware.

Those incredible moments of being awake and aware can surprise us.  They can distract us, and they can fuel us. We need only to be raising our eyes above the horizon every morning and again at sunset to enjoy one of the free spectacles of the world.  The official sunrise happens in about eleven minutes from now, in Alberta on February 6.  It will happen behind the tree line, out of my direct line of sight.  There might be a pink tinge in the sky to the southwest across the swake.  Unless I intentionally walk or drive down the lane to a spot with a clear view, I will never know what the sunrise had to offer me today.  Wherever you are in the world, raise your eyes to the heavens and enjoy the view.  Don't just be awake throughout your day; be aware of the wonder and the beauty. Live wholeheartedly.