Why Bother Looking Up?

Why bother looking up?

It is easier to look up when the sky is blue rather than when it is gray and raining. As a friend once said to me, “If I look up when it’s raining, all I get is raindrops in my eyes.”

November begins the wet season here in North Idaho and the sky is overcast more days than not. Already I miss seeing the infinite blue of the summer and fall sky. But I still keep looking up, because when I do, there is always something magnificent to see. 

Before moving to North Idaho I’d only seen images of a bald eagle. Now they are a fairly common sight, yet I am deeply stirred every time I see one.

My commute to and from work takes me back and forth across a bridge that spans almost two miles of open water. Most days I spot a bald eagle perched in a cottonwood tree that overlooks the water and I smile. The busy traffic that passes by does not bother this bird. His demeanor inspires me to slow down and notice not only him, but what he’s staring at; a big and beautiful lake. 

Taking a Sunday walk along a dirt trail that parallels the lake I often notice geese honking and either flying off in a V formation or coming in for a splash landing. These birds are so common that people in our area want to eliminate them. Their poop is plentiful and hinders summertime tourists when they come to lay out their towels on the public beach. But those birds keep coming back and I am glad they cannot be eliminated. 

Though the osprey have already migrated south, they will return again in the spring to their nest near my house. Standing in my backyard with my neck cranked back to stare up into the sky, I’ve watched osprey and eagles do battle in the air.  Usually the osprey wins and the eagle leaves the territory.  

Only once a year do I spot the Tundra Swans on their way to Alaska. Instead of a honk, these big birds give a sound I would describe as a hoot. Either way, their beauty and grace make me stand still to watch. 

Though the osprey, geese and swans are gone, and I might not spot an eagle, I can still look up and see beauty. 

Just outside my classroom windows is a forest. The tamarack trees are plentiful, and their golden needles contrast the greens of the cedars and hemlocks. 

Then there is the fog that hugs the hillsides and the sunrise that turns the clouds a muted pink. I stand still and let out a sigh of contentment at the sights that surround me. 

I am an early riser and often go for a run long before there is any morning light. It is in the dark that the stars shine their brightest and I pause to look up at the brilliant, vast and countless lights above me. I am almost giddy. The view I have is all to myself. 

Why bother looking up. I’m only guessing that once you do the beauty you behold will startle your eyes and make it worth the  glance.