Fight stress, watch a sunset

By Brady Bauman

This is a special day for you, loyal Mercury reader. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s a secret I’ve discovered long ago, but don’t like to talk about… until now.

Are you sitting down? Good. Well, here it goes: Life is stressful.

Whew! I’ve been holding that one in for a long time. I’ve wanted to tell people this dirty, dark piece of terror for some time now, but it’s a horrible truth that not many can handle.

“So, Brady,” you say, “Why are you clouding up my sunny day? You’re giving me a bad case of the sads.”

Well reader, it’s funny you mention that sunny day, because that is the remedy to the stress that infects our lives.

Pay attention to that sunny day and at the end of it, watch a sunset. Do it. Find a good spot, clear an hour of your evening and watch it. It works for me, and I have full belief that it can work for you.

THERE’S A spot— a secret spot that will stay secret — I know around my place of residence that has a beautiful view of the Flint Hills looking west toward K-18 and Junction City. Weather and time permitting, I like to jog out to my special spot and catch the sun kissing the edge of the ragged hills far off in the distance. It’s awe-inspiring to see the sun’s rays extend to the valley of wilderness directly before me. My spot overlooks the valley of tall grasses, creeks, trees and exposed limestone. Geese fly above me and birds scatter throughout, often calling to each other. As time goes on, the sky divides into two colors: a deep blue on top and red-orange below. Any clouds that are present reflect the light with purple and red hues. After a few more minutes, the North Star faintly appears to complete the picture as the world lives night and day simultaneously.

Through this ritual I’ve seen a lot of sunsets, and I will no doubt see many more, but while every sunset goes through the same steps, each one manages to be different. As important as we think all the details of our lives are, and as groundbreaking to the world we often believe each detail is, those things fall away when I witness a sunset. They’re a much needed reminder that life — the big picture of life — is much, much larger than us. Whether I’m here tomorrow or not, that sun is going to set — and rise — either way, and it will still be beautiful.


IT’S ALSO a much needed reminder that there some things that are still too big for the human race to screw up. A quick Google search will reveals that the sun is so big it would take 1 million Earths to fill it. There’s a reason Egyptians worshiped Ra (who later became Horus), the Sun God, so fervently. Even the Egyptians — an ancient culture dictated by all-knowing pharaohs — acknowledged there were some things they couldn’t control.

All this isn’t to say the human race hasn’t came up with some beautiful creations. There are high-def TVs, and the shows (“Breaking Bad”!) that can be seen on them. There are Hostess cupcakes. There’s the NFL. The newest edition of the Chevy Corvette makes my heart melt.

There are Star Wars Legos. There’s Bill Snyder’s windbreaker.

But those things cost money to me and money in materials to the good people who engineer them. A good sunset is free and is much-needed medicine for the soul — a soul constrained to a culture hellbent on accumulating those Hostess cupcakes, Chevy Corvettes and Bill Snyder windbreakers.

And all that can make life very stressful.

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