When my best friend and I were Juniors in high school we went on a school “field trip” to France. The school required chaperones, which meant our moms got to come as well. I call it a field trip, but calling a grand adventure such is nearly insulting. I’ll call it our French Adventure instead.
Back home at school our teacher had told us to blend in by wearing nice clothes. Jeans and tennis shoes were to be left at home as this would make us stand out as Americans. Walking in a row 18 people long down the streets of France with cameras out, however, was acceptable. And so, my best friend and I brilliantly bought matching outfits to blend in. Our favorite outfit was black and white printed capris with little knit berets. Seriously. We totally blended in.
Suddenly, you see something on the ground just a short distance ahead of you and your little group. In your excitement, you point to it and yell, “Look up!”
Because you’re still excitedly pointing down at this mysterious object, you don’t understand why everyone is looking up. Now everyone is just paces away from this object. So, again, you point to the ground and shout with fervor, “Look up!”
Everyone continues to look up searching for what mystifying piece of historic scenery you are trying to point out. It doesn’t occur to you that you meant to say “Look out” until your mom, who is focused on looking up, walks right into a pile of French doggie poo.
Years later, my friend would use this little story as a word of advice. On a Christmas card to me she wrote,
“I was thinking about our trip to France, and I discovered something profound. As we walked along the cobblestone streets filled with poo you cried “Look up!” I think you had discovered a universal truth: The road of life is full of sh… poop, and the best thing to do is to look up and just enjoy the beauty around us. My wish for you this year is that you ignore the shit and enjoy all the wonderful things.”
Then today, I thought of this story again. I was driving home from work and was blown away by the sunset. Not just the sunset, but the skies themselves. It was like standing inside a snow globe of sunset surrounded by a sky so vast you had to turn in circles just to see it all. I had to pull over and take a picture (or ten) it was that breathtaking. I don’t know what your sunsets are like, but in my opinion Colorado has the biggest skies. This means miles of sky for your viewing pleasure, and a perfect canvas for sunsets. But you will only see it if you look up.
Look up … two innocent words drenched with invitation.