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Almost fourteen years ago, April 17, 2004, I was doing one of the things I always liked best…bicycling on the Katy Trail, the very best bike trail in mid-America, right here in Missouri. And suddenly, in the middle of a beautiful ride, I had a heart attack. I am fine now, probably healthier than I was before that day…

But I am changed. I wake up each and every morning and instantly feel a smile crawl across my face…it is a new day, and I have another chance to make the most of all I have been given. I never understood how precious that is until I almost lost it.

Shortly after my illness I woke up each morning and rushed out to see the sun rise. I created a small portfolio of 30 sunrise pictures that I named “A Month of Sunrise”. I even took a picture on the days the sun could not be seen. I knew it was there in the eastern sky…right where that brighter spot was. It started as just a trigger to get me going, to wake up my day to what it could be, but by the end of the month it was so much more.

I noticed things I had never noticed before. I learned to look at the whole sky. There were so many colors behind me that I had never before turned to see. I saw people up and about, starting their day just as I was starting mine. I realized that for each of them, there were things they were thinking about…some good things and some bad things, some things that filled them with joy, some things that terrified them. For each of us, we were facing a new day…and it would be whatever we would make of it. I learned to listen as well as to look. I heard birds I had never noticed before. I heard wind blowing through the trees, across the field, behind the buildings. I smelled the dew, and the freshness of a new day. I saw critters waking up and starting their daily routine. I understood better than ever before that the world is a lot of us, doing a lot of things, living a lot of different realities.

I no longer take any day for granted, and I still run out to see the sun rise every chance I get. Sometimes, when I am visiting them, or they are visiting me, my children come with me. They, too, have learned to welcome a new beginning each day.

My favorite sunrise picture is one I took at one of our favorite places along the Mississippi River, Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary. It was shortly after my husband had recovered from a significant illness, and the bright sunshine was the beginning of a truly good day…an almost perfect day…

Falling in love with the sunrise, led me to begin to notice the sunset. The morning sunrise got me going, the sunset gave me time to reflect on how I had done with this one more day I had been given…so many one more days! One of my favorite sunsets was on a trip we made to southern Missouri, on a small lake…

The sunrise gets me going, lights my way…the sunset makes me grateful, and helps me to sleep each night…after I run out to catch the moon in whatever phase it is in!

In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge, Rise/Set