“Gray day. Everything is gray. I watch. But nothing moves today.”

I think of this line from Dr. Seuss’s My Many Colored Days whenever gray clouds hang heavy over the landscape.

Autumn is brilliant when the trees display their color and orange pumpkins line our porch steps. After the leaves disappear and the pumpkins are put away, nature’s neutral palette takes over for a good five months in the middle of the Midwest, replaced occasionally by the white of winter snows. Add some gray sky and a little fog and the whole world can to blend together into one.

I used to struggle to find the beauty in gray days. I’m a fan of green grass, leafy trees, blooming flowers, and sunshine. Yet, I’ve learned that beauty is where you find it.

Sometimes we see what we want to see.

I choose to see the dormant pastures and acres of harvested crop stubble as a resting and sleeping in preparation for next year’s growing season. Not dead and brown.

I choose to see empty skeletal trees as the perfect silhouette to the fiery pinks and oranges of my rural sunrises and sunsets. And who knew there were so many birds’ nests resting in their branches?

The gray clouds shouldn’t seem all that gloomy. We know the sun still shines on the other side.

Most of us have a few gray days, whether we admit it or not. Some gray days are easier than others. Maybe we need to remember that seeing what we want to see applies to more than a glance outside – it’s what we see on the inside too.

Some stages of life seem more vibrant than others. Sometimes we’re in a phase where nothing moves like we’d hoped, but could it be that God is resting us and preparing us for a new season?

Maybe some parts of life’s journey seem empty to us. Could it be that others see us as part of a bigger more beautiful picture that we can’t quite envision from our own perspective?

It’s hard to be patient in a world where instant gratification permeates nearly every facet of life. I’m not saying we should deny reality, but we have to keep searching – even when its difficult – for the wonderful in what lies around us, what lies within us, and the people who walk in and out of our lives.

Gray days? It’s just lighting. Inside or outside, see what you want to see. Find the beauty; remember the sunshine.

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Diane Karr

Diane Karr lives on a family farm in south central Nebraska with her husband and four sons. Besides chasing after her busy boys and the farm, she volunteers as a church organist. Diane graduated from UNL in 1996 as an agribusiness major, shares stories about farm life at RealFarmWifeOnTheCountyLine.com, and is a volunteer for CommonGround Nebraska. She also enjoys Husker football, hazelnut lattes, cooking and baking, boating, photography, and spending time with family and friends.