For the first ten years of my time at my job, a private school in Montclair, NJ, I never stopped at the window I passed every day on the way to my office. I’m sure it had to do with the challenges of a new job, raising my son and attempting(but ultimately failing) to be “handy” around our first and second house. Be that as it may, after my tenth year at MKA, I began to slow down while passing the 9 x 12 foot floor to ceiling window and notice the view of Montclair to Newark and right on in to NYC. At first, my awareness of what laid before me was as simple as a quick understanding that it was indeed, a million dollar view( or more- the surrounding home owners would have jumped at that price for a view of the City). But more and more I noticed smaller things about the light show daily playing out for me. For example, I began to notice that at a certain moment in the sun’s ascension, reflected light from the Freedom Tower acted as a second sun beaming out onto the plains of NJ. I enjoyed the days when clouds lay over New York as then the light show changed colors; adding purples and beautiful reds in addition to the beautiful shades of orange and yellow. Periodically, other teachers and students would stop what they were doing and watch the sun rise as well. It seemed like a measurable period of time but probably lasted no more than ten seconds as we hurried off to copy tests or prepare lesson plans.
In China, I found myself watching the sun rise on top of Mount Tai, Tai Shan, with close to a thousand Chinese. We had arrived at the summit of Tai in various ways: some of us hiked up and stayed at a hotel for the night, others hiked up and slept out in the open, and some people had taken the early cable car ride. However people got there, it hadn’t been easy. I saw 85 year old grandmothers helped along by their children, groups of friends, couples, and some who were photographers. But everyone was interested in experiencing a moment. That moment of transition from night to day. In China it’s a special tradition to greet the rising sun in the East on top of a mountain. Appreciating these moments of natural transition which help us directly connect to the natural way can be an important basis for a healthy life and healthy mindset because too much of what we do today obfuscates what is natural and upsets our circadian rhythm as a result. So here are some photos from Tai Shan to demonstrate what appreciating the big and small of nature actually looks like.