I've had a thing for skies since I was a kid. I can't say for sure when it began, but the first real memory I have of it was maybe from 6th grade down the shore*. I remember lying at the end of the dock at night, as far away from the street lights and lamps glimmering from windows, providing light to folks cozied up on their couches getting lost in easy beach reads; I lay and I watched. I examined the stars, both individually and within their constellations (none of which I could name, or accurately recognize for that matter), and I just gazed in awe. I don't know that I wondered about the sky. I just took it in for what it was worth.
Since then, I can recall time and time again watching the sky. Sitting in the sand, waiting for the sun to peek out from the horizon to lighten the ocean. Sitting on a porch watching the dancing clouds as a storm passed through. Following the colors blend from blue to pink to orange as the sun retired for the day over the mighty Mississippi. It has brought me comfort for years, and I've just recently begun to figure it out. I tend to share some of these moments through Instagram (@courtgush), hoping that others, too, may find comfort in these scenes. Someone once commented, "Do you Google these pictures or [are you] special enough to witness them?!?" I'm not so special at all.
Now, I'll be upfront here: I am a Christian and a believer, and I hope not to offend any in my thoughts and opinions. But no, I don't believe I am special or that these photos are captured by luck. Anyone can capture these moments. Anyone can happen upon them as they walk their dog or stroll their children. I do believe some are more receptive to these scenes than others. And that sometimes people see them differently, like anything else processed by two sets of eyes. Some sunsets just have more meaning than others. As an example, I can scroll through a roll of my photos and tell you what was happening in my life at the time a photo was taken, and I can recall my thoughts when I was taking said photo. The common denominator in all these moments: I have thanked God for painting me these scenes. I always see it as a reminder that we are not alone, that there are things much greater than us, and that we are comforted by God when we allow ourselves to be. A near and dear friend recently quoted me, saying that "a good sunset can make any day better," and I hold this to be true. I hope that others, too, will ponder this thought and give it a go, especially in their most challenging times.
* Down the shore, for those not acquainted with the Northeast, is a term synonymous with at the beach, and it may be used to describe the bay; the boardwalk; the cape; or literally, the beach.