If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you might remember all of the sunset photos I would post when I first moved here to rural, small-town Minnesota. That was 8 years ago! I was in awe of the endless horizon, the sea of fields around me in every direction, the expanse of the sky above me. It honestly blew me away. I’ve always been quick to turn to thoughts of worship when it comes to natural beauty around me. It’s just an inclination I have, one that many of us have. We look at the jaw-dropping beauty of creation around us and we immediately feel drawn to our Creator. And for me, with all of the dramatic sunsets I was witnessing being painted across the sky here, it naturally drew my eyes up! Bjorn and I, we’d go “road chasing” in the evenings, following dusty dirt roads until we just had to pile out of the truck and snap photos of the orange backdrop of sky!
Over the years, I’ve been posted fewer and fewer sunset photos. Road chasing is one of my very favorite things – to get lost in a whirling world of sunset glow – but it doesn’t happen much anymore. It’s just the season of life we’re in!
A few days ago, I had one of those full-circle life moments with my children, and it was the most wonderful feeling.
To give you some background, first, I’d love for you to head over to my 2014 road chasing post, to get a feel for those perfect rural “road chasing” nights. I’ll share the simple poem from that post here, too:
some days are perfect for road chasing.
some days, the sunset is so flawless
and the light so golden-rich,
you just have to take the long way home
you chase the stretch of gravel
past rustling corn, quiet tall hay bales,
and crickets who haven’t seen a car in hours
you drive until you find that perfect corner of the world,
where 2 roads meet at a creaky sign –
where orange light pushes shadows long
and rests its peace
on the outskirts of your sleepy town
the heavy sun yawns and throws its rays
on buzzing fields in their perfect order
no one else cares to come down this road, and
you breathe deeper than you have in days
and then, when your soul stills and your heart beats full,
you pocket your road chasing for another day
– and race your lonesome dust cloud back home.
In contrast to those pre-kids road chasing memories, I wrote this post four years later in 2018, when my daughter was one. It was a special, healing way for me to process my new role as a mom; I called it “A New Kind of Golden Hour” and I was leaning into the bittersweet feelings of tending to my precious girl’s needs while the road chasing was set aside and the sunset blazed outside the window. Much of life is bittersweet and that’s okay! Writing that post was my way of working through all of those feelings.
That brings us to a few days ago. As I did the dishes after supper, I saw from my kitchen window that the sunset was shaping up to be gorgeous that evening. Bjorn was gone at a meeting, the kids had napped extra long and I knew they’d be okay staying up later… So I got us all ready in a matter of minutes and grabbed my “good camera” and hopped into the van, heading for wherever those dirt roads took us.
We only went a few minutes outside of town before finding the perfect spot. When we stepped out of the van, our dust was still rising in the air and the only sounds we heard were crickets in the tall grass, a red-winged blackbird on a fence post, and the crunch of white gravel under our feet. I let the kids play while I snapped photos. We didn’t see another car the entire time. And I was filled with joy. It sounds so simple, but to take my children road chasing at golden hour was the perfect moment – the perfect new memory for us to share.
Golden hour generally still looks different these days from those earlier years. Those glorious sun-drenched evening hours are usually filled with bath time, bedtime stories, and tucking the littles in… but that makes this recent evening of road chasing with my kids extra special.
PS – I’d been wanting to do a “twirling” photo session with Sophie for quite some time, and this ended up being the perfect evening to do it! We brought a couple of picked flowers from our yard for her to dance with. And Soren stomped around happily picking up rocks, with that precious smirk in his eyes. I’ll treasure these photos forever.