There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.
-- C. S. Lewis
One aspect of a gift that makes it special is surprise.
It's why we wrap presents.
And that's what I thought Wednesday morning, driving to work earlier than normal to fill in for someone enjoying a holiday.
Heading east in very light traffic, I rounded a last curve on Calhoun Expressway and suddenly there it was.
It was like the Lord leaned over my shoulder and said, "Hey, I want to show you something."
I found myself looking at a sunrise so spectacular I wanted to stop the car, get out and just stare at it.
The colors reflecting off the clouds were those amazing shades of pink and orange and gold and lavender that have a glow we can never quite get a camera to capture but that the human eye can process instantly, and make us just go, "Wow."
The skyline of Augusta was a black silhouette below it -- old church steeples and more modern block buildings.
They looked small beneath that overwhelmingly beautiful sky, and I began to feel a little smaller and a little less secure about my place in the universe.
I didn't stop. I kept driving. But instead of rushing to my desk I parked beside the Wachovia Bank building on Seventh Street, took an elevator up to a high floor, went to an east-facing window and watched it all fade much too quickly.
The pinks and oranges turned to purples, then gray, then vanished. The sun started to rise but couldn't seem to break through a thicker bank of clouds.
And that's the way I'll remember 2009 ending. Usually you think of an old year going out with a sunset, but I'll remember it more with a sunrise. Twelve months of rushing around capped off with a surprise.
I will look toward the new year that begins today, knowing there are many things that will happen that I anticipated and prepared for. Some good, some bad. Some that hurt.
But I know there will also be sunrises, and the prettiest ones often come when least expected on a cold, winter morning when something greater than all of us leaned over my shoulder and said, "Hey, I want to show you something."
When dawn writes a poem, we should read it.
Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.