Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ohio sunsets

Wherever you are, there are beautiful sunsets. I will not presume to think the sunsets I can see from where I live are any more or less lovely than the ones you can see when you step out just before the gloaming. I have lived in and traveled to many different places, and all of them have sunsets that can break your heart or heal it.

In La Jolla, many years ago now, I was part of a crowd on a Spring afternoon, gathered to watch as the Sun dipped below the horizon. To the north, hot air balloons hovered above the seaside cliffs, floating to grasp at the last golden rays. As old Sol sank, and le rayon vert vanished, the crowd erupted into spontaneous applause as the first cool breezes of evening swept in.

Even more years ago, I chased the Sun West across the New Mexican desert. The sky went from a thin blue to indigo quickly, with stars glittering into view brightly through my windshield.

When I lived in Camarillo, California, I would drive just north of Ventura to the beach and watch as the sunset would be obscured by the clouds brought in by the onshore flow, with dolphins swimming south to north and seals drifting serenely a few hundred yards from the beach. The clouds blew in from the Channel Islands, the lights of oil rigs outshining the stars that were near the meeting of sea and sky. The Milky Way would shimmer into view, and would become one of the first things that leaped to mind when I missed California.

I've always felt my heart pulled West, and the gorgeous sunsets here in Ohio, whether seen through the ubiquitous trees or rolling farmland, seem even more poignant after having lived in California. A continent stretches between these two states, with forests and rivers and plains and prairies and desert and towns and cities and people, a multitude of people, carpeting those lands, all receiving their own sunsets in turn.

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