Last night was such a night. I grabbed my camera and ran outside. But it soon became obvious that my location--far from the sea and east of a wide expanse of golf course--was not going to produce anything remarkable in the way of sunset pictures (of which I have a jillion.). So I wandered back into the kitchen and set my camera down, prepared to turn my attention to the next vacation activity.
But something made me stop short, turn around and head back out the door. I didn't want to be inside...not yet. I wanted to watch the sunset, not necessarily take pictures of it. I am an incorrigible photographer, and sometimes the camera gets between me and the experience I'm trying to record. So I crept back outside, away from the general vacation hubbub, found a cozy seat on the front porch steps, where the concrete was still warm from the eight-hour onslaught of afternoon sun, sat down, and just...watched.
And in the back of my mind grew a thought...that on this, my milestone birthday weekend, perhaps the Creator had something to show me this evening in the darkening night sky. Surely I could even boldly ask for a message...a sign. Perhaps in the form of one of the bird spirits upon whom I have come to depend. My mind formed the request, though not in actual words, not like a prayer. It was communication much deeper than words. More like an inner nod, acknowledging that I had requested and the Creator would answer.
Time seemed to slow as the kaleidoscope that was the sunset sky turned, the colors simultaneously deepening and brightening. Gold to glowing peach to scarlet to deep red to pink, each color, each change never seeming to begin or end, and yet the changes came and went. It was a long, drawn out show, so lovely and so surprising in its variation and length. From time to time I would sneak a peek above my head to see if the Creator had yet sent the message I had requested. After a time, I lost patience (surprise) and complained petulantly, "You haven"t sent me that sign I asked for...!"
To which the Universe replied, "What about this magnificent sunset? Isn't that enough for you?"
Chastened, I returned my attention to the light show on the western horizon.
By and by, the message that the Creator had for me dawned as the last light of the sun faded from the sky, on what I had convinced myself was the last day before the beginning of my own personal sunset.
"Sunsets are beautiful. They can surprise, and they can enchant. As they reach their finish, they wring every last bit of loveliness from every last ray of sun before it disappears below the horizon. And that can take a surprisingly long time.
"...the stars come out."