Until recently, I thought sunsets were something to pay attention to when on vacation at the beach. After all, being on the east or west coast of the ocean makes the morning rising and evening falling of the sun more spectacular than anywhere else. Thankfully, I recently shattered that limiting belief.
An unexpected blessing of Covid is being home more and walking our neighborhood. My wife Geraldine and I walk once or twice most days. We are fortunate to have a beautiful lake with a walking path around it less than a fifteen-minute walk away.
When the sun sets here in Greenbelt, there are often a few beautiful moments that can be seen from many places, including our own front yard. Walking around the lake, we discovered a little inlet where the sunset lasts longer and blends with the clouds to create magic for thirty minutes or more.
Quite by accident, we recently learned about what I now call “the second showing.” We timed our arrival at the lookout point on the lake at the precise moment to see the sun quickly drop, leaving in its wake a panoply of colors that seemed to dance. Once the sun had fully dropped, I was filled with gratitude for the beauty we had witnessed and I was ready to leave.
Several neighborhood photographers were there. One, a gentleman who had a tripod and a camera a little more sophisticated than a cell phone, observed how the real beauty would arrive in about fifteen minutes. I didn’t believe him. The sky was getting dark and was filled with clouds. I was sure he was mistaken.
Geraldine, ever optimistic, suggested we wait. I said, “No, let’s get going.” We started the walk home. As we headed up the hill, Geraldine looked behind us and saw this beautiful mix of light red and clouds filling the sky. She urged me to head back with her. In fact, she insisted, and I reluctantly agreed.
We had to run the last 100 yards to the edge of the outlet to catch the magical end of the “second show.” It was spectacular – so many light and dark colors flowing between each other and dancing against the clouds. The photographer was shooting away, with a huge smile on his face.
A few days later, now as believers, Geraldine and I were at the inlet with the photographer. I asked him if the sunsets here were this spectacular all year round. I wondered out loud how I had missed this for so long. He explained that the inlet was the best place to photograph this spectacular phenomenon during the winter. In summer, he said the best viewing is down the shoreline, about a half-mile away. He told me it took patience and time to learn the ways of the sunset.
If I learn my lessons from the sunset, I can slow down more often to take the second look – to see what the “second show” reveals. All of us are deeper and more beautiful than is readily obvious. Surely, there is a force for good in each of us that is bigger than the force for evil. And if we can’t see it right now, maybe we can stroll further down the shore in the coming season and try again.
Maybe if we slow down and take that second look, we will be amazed at the beauty we see and the loving connections we will make. Wouldn’t it be a shame to go home without seeing the “second show?”
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