The sun sinks slowly to the horizon, creating an orange band of glowing light across all the eye can see. On the beach its color glistens in the wet sand after the wave has washed away.
The tide rises. Choppy waves come with greater power and frequency, the very tips of their white frothy lip so thin you can see the orange – now pink – sunlight through them. I forget how loud the ocean is until the lull between sets. The last wave crashes and there is an audible, bubbly hush that dances across the beach and leaves me hanging on that quiet pause, marveling that a living thing as immense as the ocean can be so hushed, if only for an instant. Then somewhere off to the right a small wave breaks and begins the thundering noise once more.
I look out across the vastness of the water. It’s my favorite time, in some ways, the time of day when the ocean glistens with iridescent blue, green, steel and silver, as if dawning its starry evening gown for one last brilliant dance before dark. My eyes drink it in, my heart tries to memorize it all – the light, the glistening colors, the setting sun. I’ve seen it countless times and yet it is everlastingly new and fresh.
I never tire of it.
Suddenly the sun sits low, a great disc, fat on the horizon. I wish for my camera but know from experience that even that cannot really capture the moment. I sigh inwardly. It’s our last sunset on the beach. Only my immense joy in the moment prevents the stinging in my eyes from becoming a tear trickling down my cheek. All that time waiting for sunset yet it slips so quickly out of sight, it’s large heaviness suddenly too much for a slow exit.
I look around once more, at the flash of golden color across the sky, the most beautiful colors of my experience, shimmering far as I can see. It is new and yet old. It will greet me next year as it did a week ago: an old friend full of new discoveries, with new lessons to teach. It is the ocean.
And the moment is gone. A little arm tugs on my leg, reminding me I’m needed. We turn in the gathering darkness toward the lights of the house.
Until next year.