I just spent four days skiing in the mountains of British Columbia. It was a wonderful time of fun, exercise and fellowship with friends and family. The weather was fantastic, the skiing great and the scenery amazing. High jagged peaks, gently curving mountain meadows filled with snow, and steep lower slopes covered in thick forests of pine and spruce. We skied and snowboarded from the early morning until they closed the lifts. I even made it down a couple black diamond runs.
As we headed home to Saskatchewan, the spectacular vistas of the Rocky Mountains quickly gave way to the broad expanse of the Palliser Triangle. I watched as the lofty snow capped summits gave way to the undulating Alberta foothills and then stark flat plains stretching to the horizon. And I thought how beautiful it was.
Now I’m a flatlander. I was born and raised in Saskatchewan and have lived here all of my life. I have travelled. I’ve even stayed in Vancouver for a month during my training and in New Zealand for three. But Saskatchewan is my home and I think it is beautiful.
Almost everyone can look at the mountains and be thrilled and amazed at their beauty. The beauty of the prairies is more subtle. The patchwork of browns and greens and golden yellows extending out as far as the eye can see. Small clusters of trees grasping tightly to each prairie pond and coulee. Splatters of color from wild flowers and blossoming fields of canola and flax. And above it all a sky alive with rich blues, reds, oranges and purples.
The prairie sky captivates me. There is nothing like the long lingering panorama of a Saskatchewan sunset. The pale blue of midday darkens through violet to black while rows of clouds are tinted with the vivid pastels of fading sunlight. Sunsets in the southern latitudes are nice but they’re over in an instant. You don’t see the sun set in the mountains. It slips behind a cliff or a peak and is gone. On the prairie, you can watch a hot ball of crimson dissolve into the horizon. Each time is different. Each time is amazing.
I think people can be like mountains and prairies. Each has been granted talents, abilities and beauties. Some are like the Rocky Mountains. Their beauty is obvious to all. They can sing magnificently, or speak eloquently in front of hundreds, or throw 75 yard touchdown passes, or have some other great talent. Others may have other talents that are just as amazing but can be overlooked. They clean up after the potluck, visit shut-in’s in nursing homes or hospitals, or sit in a small room and pray.
These individuals’ gifts and talents, their beauty so to speak, is more subtle. But it is just as amazing and just as vital. And, like the beauty of the prairies, it may be missed by the casual observer. But there are times when the sky becomes alive with a gorgeous sunset. And there are times when God moves to show us how lovely and special we all are, and to remind us to express our appreciation to all those around us.