Perhaps it’s my melancholy side that comes out with the rising of the sun. I’ve seen it few times in my life – watched the darkness slowly give way, the landscape appear as though the great Artist is sketching in first rough outlines, then shading and scribbling til the finer details come into view. A glow appears on the horizon, and all is quiet and still. The world is waiting, hushed, breath held, for the great triumph that starts as a single note sung clear and high – the rays that extend from an unseen celestial being – until the symphony reaches its majestic triumph. People crawl out from warm beds to sit and wait for this moment: the unveiling of a new day.
I’d rather avoid it all. Hide away in blissful slumber and climb out finally when the day is in full swing, the world a humdrum of activity that might feel as though it stretches into the past for eternity – no beginning, only a sunset waiting.
It’s all over so quickly, you see. All the build up, the waiting, for a few short moments – and then the magic disappears with the shadows and the sky comes bright and everything is stark and naked. Night’s shroud of mystery is lifted and there is little left to wonder at, for everything is seen plainly. The protection of anonymity is stripped and we face the choice: to don our masks, or be judge as we are, by others over whom we have no control. As morning creeps toward noon, the body realises that this is the land of the waking, and we all fight the effects of gravity and effort is needed for everything. The sunrise is brief, and as it dies (the death of a seed which must die in order to birth a new plant), it brings in the gritty reality of life.
The sunset is where my soul finds solace. Busy, we might not notice as it creeps up. But then you look out a window and the sky is tinged golden and the clouds have been lit up in surreal colours and your heart really could believe that there is a city up there of light and beauty. Living on Orchard Road, where the dirt road ran straight along the ridge with the potato fields and cattle pasture rolling away either side, I would walk right down to the end and the sky opened right up and from second to second the beauty deepened and took my breath away each time. Though the sunrise struggles to inch its way past the horizon, the sunset encompasses the whole sky and each layer is something different. The centre of it, where the sun dips her head and says goodbye, that’s where the castle is in the great city. That’s where the angels sing the loudest.
The sun sets and the darkness settles in and we prepare for sleep, the place of dreams and weightlessness and no limits. Sometimes, I wish I could just stay there, in that place of warmth and bodily comfort, with emotions that feel more real, more true than anything encountered in waking life. Sometimes I wake and feel like if I had just stayed a little longer, I would have revealed some great mystery, uncovered a deeper truth.
I love the sunset.