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The joys of living where you can see the sunset

Jenny Schlecht1 / 2
One of my better recent attempts at capturing the sunset. Jenny Schlecht / Forum News Service2 / 2

I didn't grow up in the country.

Yes, I grew up on a farm and ranch. But to say it's in the "country" would be misleading at best. From my parent's house, you can get to Walmart or McDonald's in about five minutes. Houses line the horizon and block out any views that could be considered majestic.

So moving out into the actual country was a new experience for me.

It could be isolating, I suppose, were I not someone who enjoys and values solitude. You can read into that whatever you want; the truth of the matter is, I enjoy living somewhere where I can wear sweats or old frayed jeans most days and the only people who might see me are my family, my in-laws ... and the occasional trucker who stops at the house looking for the bins or the corrals.

My husband teased me as I prepared to move out of Bismarck, where I lived after college. No more last-minute runs to the grocery store. He mockingly pondered what we'd eat when I'd forgotten to buy more than I needed for that one day.

I'm not going to say that part wasn't difficult — or that I've never changed up a menu at the last minute when I realized I'd forgotten to stock up on a staple that should have been in the cupboards. I haven't lived in Bismarck for almost nine years, and I'm still adjusting to that part.

But I've discovered so many other things that make it worthwhile to live out here. The surprising thing that gets me almost every evening? The sunsets.

I've always loved a good sunset. I love the way the colors blend and run together while still staying true to themselves. I love seeing cows or hay bales or trees silhouetted against it. And I love the peace it seems to give the world in front of it.

So many times lately, the sunset as I drive home from picking up my kids in town has made me catch my breath. My artistic side thrills to it, though I'm certain there is no medium in which I could capture it well enough to give me that same feeling. Certainly I can't seem to capture it with my camera in a way that brings it to life in the same way as standing out there looking at it. That, of course, doesn't stop me from trying.

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I spotted every color of the rainbow above our feedlot. Red glowed just above the horizon, blending into a vibrant orange and a pale yellow. A little strip of green melded into blue and what I assume was indigo (I'm honestly never sure). And purple stretched into the black of the night that was moving in.

I stopped the car as soon as I pulled into our place and started taking pictures, much to the annoyance of my girls who, while fine with looking at the sunset, didn't see the point of capturing it.

They were quite right. The memory of that sunset is much lovelier than the poor photo I took.

My girls may never understand why I gasp at the sunset. They're growing up where you can see off in the distance, with the only impediment in the distance a haystack or a cow or a row of trees. To me, it's still a bit of a novelty.

They don't know what it's like to be able to drive to town for supper without it being a big deal. They don't know what it's like to be able to run to the store for that last ingredient instead of changing plans.

Personally, I think they're getting the better end of the deal.