Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Late Summer Sunset

I'm borrowing a page out of Masked Mom's book tonight and posting something from the notebook. Not literally, this is from my book. I wrote this about two years ago for a friend of mine who was having trouble seeing with the right kind of eyes. 

August 16, 2010

Sunset in the late summer here is like no other place I've been. I lived some places that could conjure some pretty amazing sunsets. The soft, greenish-red of Vermont; the dazzling, glittery high-tech of Hong Kong. I've watched the sun set on four different continents, dozens of countries, countless cities. But here... here it's different. Here, it feels like home.

A clear, sunny day has its own color. The way a cloudless summer sky blue reflects the green of our urban spaces surrounded by mighty trees gives way to the violet mountains, the baby powder volcano, the liquid indigo of sound and lakes and sea. This cool palette is a constant reminder of elements, greater forces at work. It makes our efforts in sticks and bricks and glass seem like childish play.

The mountains recline while the trees whisper and the water giggles and they toss the sunlight around. Allowing us, for now, to sit nestled in their laps and play at technology, progress, before they choose to wipe us clean. I like the feeling of living in borrowed space. The wanderer in me feels at home in a city whose very nature feels transient. I haven't felt this welcome since I lived in pre-1997 Hong Kong.

One of my favorite times of day is when the sun decides to call it a day, pack up and go home for the night. To go put up its feet for a while in Asia while we cool off. It's not the gentle slipping from the sky, the polite and lingering egress I've seen in other places. It's like it suddenly realizes it's been at this party too long - suddenly glances at its watch and realizes "It's nine-o-clock! I should have left hours ago!" and vaults for the Olympics, turning once to flash a dazzling smile across the Sound and it's gone. You're left standing there with your cooling cup of coffee in the rapidly cooling air, feeling the full force and impact of dangling off the northwestern-most corner of the continental United States.

But there are those few minutes... the brief moments between the slight shifts in the light. Like when a momentary hush falls over the party and you sense it is time to go. That few minutes before the sun hops over the mountains that its sleepy light dims a bit and crackles, sending a shower of golden sparkles to settle over all those blues and greens like the iridescence of a peacock's feather. It's a beauty almost too much to take in.

If you look with the right kind of eyes, it's a cad's apology meant just for you. "Hey, sorry about all those days I was supposed to show and didn't. If I could hold you in this light just a little longer, I would. But I gotta run. You understand. Listen, I'll be back soon. Not sure when, but I promise, next time I'm through this way, maybe I'll stop by."

And just like that, before you can protest, give it one last kiss, it hops over the mountains. And before you get the chance to protest or be hurt or question its fidelity, it gives you that wink and special grin over its shoulder, bathing you in its glow. A special light just for you and it's gone.


  1. I so envy your ability to create mood and beauty in your writing. I knew I should have paid better attention in all those poetry classes. We watched the sun setting over Lake Michigan today, and I have a whole new appreciation for fading light. Don't ask me to write about it, though!

  2. Sweet Moses, this is perfection! I've lived those sunsets and am kind of hoping tonight brings another.

  3. "That few minutes before the sun hops over the mountains that its sleepy light dims a bit and crackles, sending a shower of golden sparkles to settle over all those blues and greens like the iridescence of a peacock's feather."

    How lovely.

  4. Wow you have a way with words that takes my mind in directions I don't expect.

    I love sunsets and love how you painted yours across the sky for me, although I would love to see it I just ended up thinking of home and the way we get the long goodbyes from the sun here. It puts on a great show apologising for the fact it is usually hiding like a hermit behind the clouds and even takes its time to wake in the morning, you can almost see it stretching to work out the kinks of the previous day. Thank you!

  5. How you are not incredibly famous is such a mystery to me. I feel so selfish, getting to read your words when so many out in the world are missing out.

  6. I've never been further west than El Paso (unless the part of Colorado where we lived briefly is wester than that, and I'm too lazy to check), but I feel like I just experienced a Pacific Northwest sunset from my desk chair.

    Thank you.


Thanks for reading and taking the time to say hello!