Sunsets are like Blues music. They move us with the same poignant beauty, born of loss. Whether the loss is a love, a dream, a life, or just a day in a life, both share the message that time passes and change comes. The last rays tinge the clouds with color, and our hearts with a brief and secret sadness, made of memory, nostalgia, opportunities missed and goals still unmet.
I am, by my nature, too joyful to dwell on the moment of sadness. I simply acknowledge, accept, and honor it as part of life. We seek balance, anchoring ourselves in these truths. Pain and pleasure, warmth and cold, light and dark, elation and despair, youth and age, each enhance our keen awareness of the other. No matter what I'm doing, or where I am, I try to watch the sun go down. Through this small private ritual I remember to appreciate my life and make each day count.
Last night I came across this photo I took of a sunset a few weeks ago, looking west from Tacoma near the Narrows Bridge. It could be anywhere. The same fire in the sky could have been reflected in your eyes. The same black silhouettes of trees could be your trees, to which the birds you heard in your own yard this morning withdrew and withheld their mysterious songs. We've all seen the brilliance and then the fading light.
Some weeks I hurry, busy with things I believe are important. On other weeks unexpected speed bumps cause me to slow down and take notice. This past week was one of those and held plenty of signs of coming change, some welcome, some not. Spring bulbs are blooming. We took some "cool" antiques to a swap meet, but realized a new generation had little interest. We talked to our grandson in Colorado by live video, on Skype, and wondered what a toddler thinks about that. We went to a gathering and noticed how people had aged. Our garden shrubs began to bud. A friend flew home because her mother is dying. The stock market went up. The historic fishing schooner WAWONA, built in 1897, was completely demolished, her elegant form and testimony to craftsmanship ending up in dumpsters. And the Seattle Post Intelligencer printed its last real paper after 146 years of dispersing the news on everything from war to who won the high school football game. Its reporters witnessed and recorded our lives and all things considered important through many generations. We will miss the old familiar smell of ink and newsprint, the rustling sound, the feel of it in our hands on Sunday morning, where it went so well with the buttered toast and steaming coffee and quiet start to the day. And WAWONA is gone forever.
We can no more stop change than we can stop the sun from rising up and going down. A few weeks ago friend expressed the hope of seeing many more sunrises and sunsets, each with its own poignancy and promise. I hope that too. I hope to be humbled and inspired by the beauty and meaning in every single one even though I know, glorious as they are, they will sometimes feel like I'm singing the Blues.