E.B. White once said:
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
Note that he didn’t say that it was impossible to balance these seemingly competing impulses, but rather that it creates some planning challenges. As a human rights lawyer, I believe that is is crucial to find that balance on a daily basis. I try to show my kids that every day you can find a way to improve the world, in big ways and small. It may not seem like much, but when you say something nice instead of something mean or share your lunch with a friend who forgot his, you really are making an affirmative choice to improve the world around you.
At the same time, it is important to look for beauty in the world around you. It’s there, we just sometimes forget to look. Or listen. I pulled up short during my run the other day to listen to a robin. The robins have been back for months, so I usually don’t even hear their songs, but this particular robin was balanced on a telephone wire over an alley, stretching her (or his – I guess I can’t tell) body high to belt out a string of clear whistles. “Cheer up! Cheer up! Cheer up!” sang this avian Aretha Franklin. Beautiful!
When I was 11 or 12, one of my favorite books was Never Miss A Sunset by Jeannette Gilge. Told from the perspective of a 13-year-old girl, it is part of a series about a large family struggling to survive on a homestead in the early 1900s. It has been decades since I read it, but I still follow the advice of the father. No matter how hard the day’s work has been, you should take a moment every day to enjoy the sunset. For me, it is not so much the sunset that I try to take time to enjoy, but The Golden Hour before the sun sets.
Maybe E.B. White had trouble planning his day, but there is a fixed moment on my daily schedule to enjoy the world. For the Weekly Photo Challenge this week, I am sharing some photos of The Golden Hour that I took in northern Minnesota recently.