A Good Place
I finished the last of my food shopping this evening. Pulling into Safeway's parking lot, I found a spot facing west and sat in the car watching the sunset. So did four other drivers. We sat staring out our windshields at the pink and blue fingers of something too large to comprehend. I got out of the car and walked backwards toward the store, unwilling to take my eyes off the last fantastic light. Three employees stood outside without saying a word. I tuned around and we all stared at each other with goofy looks on our faces.
Inside, a man's voice interrupted the preemptive Christmas music over the loudspeakers with this announcement:
“Attention, Safeway shoppers. If you are near the front of the store, please take a look out the windows at the beautiful Colorado sunset. If you moved here from Iowa, or California, or Texas, this is a reminder of why you are here...that's all.”
I live for things like that.
I can only imagine that tonight's reaction was actually residual from Monday night's sunset. That one...God, THAT was a sunset.
The sun disappeared behind long-fingered clouds, and the light between sky and ground turned a golden pink color. The air blushed.
Fairy light. There were no shadows.
Orange clouds spread across the sky like brushed out downy feathers. The blue behind them was bright and pure as midsummer, and just as distant. Season as mirage.
Tree branches darkened first, but for the very tops of the highest trees – the blessed beautiful treetops reflected the last light like they were dusted with copper. The sun dropped below the mountains, and the sky between the clouds went bright orange while the clouds went purple. The glow around me disappeared. The sky hoarded its brightness.
Jack saw me outside. He opened the sliding door and came out to stand next to me. He looked at the sky, laughed and said, “Look at that! The sky is a mess of orange clouds.”
The dark tree branches crisscrossed the opulent sky like a back-roads map to secret apple orchards, prized pumpkin patches, wind-harvested corn fields edged in granite stone walls.
It was more than a sunset. It was the face of Autumn. With a look, it explained the holidays. Watching it, you understood Halloween and Thanksgiving.
So powerful, so archetypal, that night it had me dreaming about a sunset. In the dream I walked along a beach hand in hand with someone I could not see, and the sunset colors were so bright you could hear them, and I knew we'd always been walking there, and we always would, and it would be enough.