Several years ago I wrote a story about a new resident to Texoma who had moved here from the northeast. She had never been to Texas before coming to Sherman for a job interview, so I asked what most surprised her about her new home. “There is so much sky,” she said.

What she meant was the long horizons offered by the flat expanse of the Great Plains; out on the prairie, it is as if you live under a great glass dome.

I lived in a big city for many years and had forgotten what “so much sky” looked like. In Atlanta and its confines the horizons were short and high, truncated by tall pines, taller buildings, and the taller still foothills of the Southern Appalachians. Atlanta sits at the end of the mountain chain, and the location produces incidents of lightning second only to Tampa. The lighting cracks, but because of the short horizons it cannot be seen to reach the ground. And at night, because of the city lights, the sky is never really dark.

Here, on the edge of the plains, the lightning travels all the way to earth, and at night, at least a few miles outside of thickly inhabited areas, the stars stand out against the black velvet sky with clarity. This is a vision denied city dwellers.

We should take the time to look around, especially during this winter season when the trees have lost their leaves and stand out starkly against the winter sky. Rather than just see, it would be well that we pause every now and again to look at and appreciate the land and the sky and the beauty that is all around us.

Happy birthday Wednesday to Rusty Arrington of Gunter; Shantory Hughley, Cedric Keller, and Delvin Maine Briscoe, all of Sherman; Krysynthia Rido of Friendswood; Ian Brown of Austin; Clara Flemming of Denison; Jeff Wallace of Louella; and Mickey Lyles of Ivanhoe.