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On Day Five of the Write 31 Days Challenge, I watched the sunrise and wrote about it. I couldn't not keep writing about the sky, so I'm currently seated on our back balcony, watching the sky to the south as it slants into sunset. Our balcony only looks south. The wall of my roommate's bedroom blocks my view to the west. We have a better view to the east, for sunrise. This is great for me, because mornings are my favorite time of day. But I've got a special place in my heart for sunsets, too. I love the situation of my apartment in relationship to campus. Every morning, I have to drive east to get to school. Lubbock is incredibly flat, so I get a spectator view of the sunrise. When I'm driving home at the end of the day, guess what I'm seeing? The sky ablaze in sunset.

Sunrises are gentle. They're sweet beginnings, silent, calm. Sunsets are the opposite. Sunsets are fierce. They're fiery, as if the sky was burning, as if the day was being consumed into ashes as the moments flash by. And sometimes that's what happens. Sometimes it feels like my entire day is just burning away before me. It makes me think of the eerily fast passage of time. My days are tiny candles, and they burn down to the stubs before I've slowed down to appreciate them.

I think that in the fall, colors are truer. I probably think this about all the seasons, actually. But the colors of autumn are rich and vibrant in a way I don't experience in the rest of the year. The entire world seems to be drenched in richer color. It reminds me of what Heaven will be like.

The colors of the October skies are no different. Sunsets prove it. Right now, I'm looking at smoky purple clouds dusted over baby blue. Touches of rose gold glint on the clouds' edges, highlighting their curves, until far away in the south, I see pink and purple mingle into the color of the tulips I bought today: neither rose, nor violet, but something in between. Fuchsia, I think. This fades into dusky, periwinkle blue, which, far in the distance, meets the line of the University Medical Center and the west Texas caprock.

Sunset comes earlier these days. It's the end of October, and it's 7:08 pm, and I know that it will be dark soon. In July it was still light into 9 pm. Suddenly, out of nowhere, my days are shorter, colder, busier, more colorful. Suddenly, between sunrise and sunset, I lose all track of time, as I walk all over campus, visit the grocery store, sing endlessly, and get caught up in the everyday. When I drive home, I see the goldenrod in the west and I am reminded of the speed of time, seemingly faster than the speed of light.

I am also reminded to look up. I am reminded of the God Who made me and the sky, and the way He spoke both of us into existence. I am reminded that He has been with me the entire day, even though I've forgotten it. I am reminded that even though time passes quickly, He never changes. Time is in His hands.

Now the purple clouds are a dusky evening blue, rapidly fading into the periwinkle blue, blurring the robin's egg color that still lingers above my roof. The moon, waxing full, gleams in the southeast, white with light that isn't hers. I, too, have been loaned some light, a treasure in a clay pot, a glow to reflect back for all to see and to rejoice therein.

I'm kind of cold -- I get cold incredibly easily. I think about the season I'm in. Sometimes it feels lonely; more often it feels joyous. Mostly it just feels like hard work and not feeling ready. I'm reminded of the words Aslan said to the prince Caspian: Because he felt that he wasn't ready, Aslan knew that he was. I pray that these words are true of me, too.

I can feel the time I'd meant to use to prepare slipping out of my hands. I think the more we try to grasp time, the more it slips away from us. I fear that I won't be ready, but I have a strange peace, too. I believe that the One Who holds time in His nail-pierced hands is using the time I've been given better than I ever could, and that by His grace, when this season is up -- when the time has passed -- when the sun has set -- then I'll be ready in spite of myself.

I pray that this is true.

Some gray clouds have formed a spiral to my right. It's like a perfectly empty circle. It reminds me of something magical. It makes me smile at the creativity of the One Who shapes my days. I've got hope because I've got Him.

I would say that He's magical, too. But He's really just Himself. And when we can't figure out what that means, we can only describe it in our little word: magical.

It's nearly dark. I will go inside and close my blinds and make more tea. I will study my music and I will listen to music and I will go to bed early.

And when morning comes, I will watch the sunrise and thank Him for the days I've got.

Because I sure do love what I've been given.

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