Sunsets have been incredible lately. Thought I’d mix it up a bit. Four of them are from today and from home, a few of them are from Pullman. I seem to have been looking to the sky more and more lately, and I’m not sure what that’s about…
I don’t want to say that I’m fascinated by its immensity or by the many colors that weave in and out at different times of the day. But I am. During the summer, I’m up before the sun. Often driving to work as it starts to peak over the mountains to the east. The quietness of the morning is made more beautiful by the pinks, purples, and oranges found in the sky. The clouds, stretched thin, begin to mix with the pale blue of the sky.
Many find it hard to see the clouds move. I don’t. I remember the first time I noticed a big, puffy cloud moving quickly across a pale blue sky. This moment was unexpected—something I had never thought of before. How long before someone else sees the same cloud? Out the window ever-darkening clouds loom over the hills. Morphing from gray to the deepest shades of blue. I watch them form. Watched them appear. A process that in itself is both slow and fast. I look away only to look back again and see the gap is closing. Steadily. I think they’re racing. Trying to see which one can reach the exact spot in the sky above me first. Sure, they’re just clouds. But weren’t we taught when we were little to look for shapes in the clouds? A dinosaur here, a car there. Not the darkness steadily overtaking us.
It’s easy to lose oneself in something that is so much greater than we are. I often find in the sky what I need at that moment. Maybe that explains my fascination. Maybe not. The sky is there to calm me. To help me see new things. The sky is consistent. It’s always there. Even the minimal light put off by the moon and the stars is enough to help me find my way. To reflect. A night with no stars and no moons, though completely dark, is still navigable.
Sunsets are my favorite part of the day. My friends make fun of me because I’m always taking pictures. But no two sunsets are the same. Even in the seconds between when my finger hits the button, the sun can descend completely below the horizon. Seemingly lost in space and time. Leaving behind a trail of clouds similar to those of the morning, fading into the blue backdrop. These fleeting moments take with them bits good and bad moments. Moments that may define us. Moments that may define the sunset.
There are scientific explanations about why clouds move, why the sun rises and sets each day, about what the atmosphere is for. Is the sky really blue? Or is it just a reflection? While these questions can be answered, they matter very little to me. What does matter is how I perceive the sky, and that I continue to look to it for hope, reassurance, and whatever it is that I may need in that moment.
This picture of the Columbia River was my inspiration for this poem.
as the sun sets in the distance
the clouds above it lose their form
the purples and pinks absorbed from the sun
spread and seep into the pale blue sky
calm and vast
stands between me and the hills
of which the sun is setting
creating a blurry
reflection of the scene above
all is dark
save for the colors of the sun
I hold onto this moment
wishing it could stay forever
knowing that at any moment it could be gone
at last the sun is no longer visible
it has taken with it those colors
that had so held my attention
so precious and small
has been replaced by the night