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Davis Journal

Surrounded by gifts worth celebrating

Oct 26, 2023 10:35AM ● By Louise R. Shaw

There was applause when it happened. 

Totally unexpected, spontaneous applause.

We’d been sitting in a park in a small town in central Utah with a couple hundred others. Over the first hour and a half, we watched through our heavily tinted solar eclipse glasses as the moon crossed in front of the sun.

As kids tossed frisbees and adults fussed with tripods, the sky dimmed and the air cooled. Then just as predicted, the moon made its way to the center of the sun and, because it was far enough away that it didn’t totally block the sun, a perfect circle was formed. An annular eclipse.

And when a cheer went up throughout the entire park, it seemed totally right.

We were together. We were awed. We were celebrating.

Four minutes later, when the moon moved enough to break the circle and turned the sun’s light into the shape of a crescent once again, another cheer went up.

It was a magical, shared moment and applause made it even more so. 

It happened another time on Maui. 

A large group had gathered on a beach to watch the sun as it set behind the island of Lanai.

Families were careful to avoid the turtle lounging on the sand, and when he started moving in fits and starts toward the surf, we weren’t quite sure he’d make it. When the waves came in and lifted him out to sea where he is such a graceful swimmer, everyone cheered. 

Our attention back on the sun’s progress, we watched it sink as the sky turned orange here and pink there. When it was gone, somebody blew a conch shell while everyone else joined in another cheer.

We were together. We were awed. We were celebrating.

There have been many times in my life when the wonders of Creation have filled my soul.

A serene mountain lake. A moody ocean. A baby.

Sometimes you smile, sometimes you cry at the miracle.

There have been many times in my life when the wonders of Creation have helped me feel joy despite worries.

A shooting star. A jumping whale. Fall leaves.

We are just such a tiny part of such an amazing universe.

And when we stop to see the beauty – or share it – it becomes meaningful. Healing.

The tilt of the earth, the mix of clouds, the change in days and seasons, the movement of the moon and the angles of the sun combine in such varied ways that every sunset has its own personality and every spring has its remarkable range of colors whether you’re in the desert or surrounded by mountains.

What a blessing it is, when so much news of what man is doing can be saddening, to walk outside and be filled with the peace and serenity that nature brings. 

And you don’t have to wait every seven-or-more years for an eclipse. 

And you don’t have to wait even until every evening for a sunset.

And you don’t have to be sitting with a crowd.

You can find those inspiring blessings – those gifts of Creation – in a leaf, in a cloud, in a butterfly, in a breeze. Every day. Together and alone.

This earth and our lives on it are gifts.

Let’s clap out loud.