Of Sunsets and Sentimentality

IMG_1874another spectacular sunset for a less than spectacular day

There’s nothing quite like a magnificent sunset to calm a man’s senses and allow him to put things into perspective for a few moments in an otherwise listless and godforsaken day.  We had a remarkable sunset last night in the Ozarks, and again tonight, and I felt like sharing my shitty iPhone pics on this blog.  It rained damn near all day yesterday (a miserable downpour worthy of building an ark), but as the sun began to sink over the horizon, the rain ceased and the sky opened up just enough to put on one hell of a show.  It was a much needed show, too.

Anymore, most of my days are spent mired in despondency and regret to a debilitating degree.  Fortunately, I’ve been busy enough at work as of late to keep my mind off of unpleasant things (idle hands and all that), but as soon as I return home and am left to my own devices, the loneliness becomes too unbearable to ignore.  I keep waiting for circumstances to change and for things to get better, or at the very least to become more palatable, but they never do.  Which is why it’s so important for someone such as myself to take the time to appreciate something as simple and powerful as a beautiful sunset.  Sometimes a sunset makes all the difference.

IMG_1887tonight’s sunset, as seen from a nursing home parking lot

For far too long now I’ve been telling myself that things could always be worse, and I’m tired of using that thought as a crutch.  Speaking of crutches, I visited my mother in the nursing home tonight, and while I was walking down the hallway of the home I witnessed an old man in a wheelchair camped out at the twenty-five cent candy machines with a cup full of quarters as if he were an old lady playing the slots.  Both of his legs were gone, likely long-since lost to diabetes.  And yet there he was, eating fistfulls of Skittles at a time.  One must have priorities, I reckoned, and I suddenly remembered my paternal grandfather, who was diabetic.  For the life of him, despite his diabetes, he couldn’t give up his favorite candy– those cheap gummy orange slices.

orangeslicesmy grandfather’s kryptonite

I loved those crappy candies when I was a kid, and I’ve always associated them with the memory of my grandfather.  He shot himself around this time some thirty years ago, which is crazy to think about.  When I wrote a post about the concept of deathdays a while back, I forgot to include that it was my grandfather who actually introduced that concept to my father.  And the older I get, the more I recognize the significance of this concept.  To every thing (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn) and a time to every purpose under heaven.  [apologies to Pete Seeger and the Byrds]

The View From Up Here

Fayetteville sunset (pano)

The next time you find yourself inexorably wallowing in your own self-pity, knock it the fuck off for a moment and take a breather to look around, because there’s beauty to be found in even the most unlikely of places.  And no, I don’t mean sunsets–sunsets are by their very nature inherently beautiful, and anyone who can’t find beauty in a good sunset is either blind or completely void of a soul.*  Rather, I mean that I got to see this particular sunset today at the library where I work because I took a moment to step out for some fresh air at just the right time.  Fayetteville is regularly blessed with amazing sunsets, but had I not been in a place where I didn’t want to be (both emotionally and physically) then I would have completely missed out on this one.

Here’s a closer look:

image

(Unprocessed snapshots taken from my iPhone — click on photos for full size)

One of our regular special needs patrons at the library was also outside enjoying the vista, and he turned to me and smiled and said, “God’s work.”  I smiled back and nodded my head–couldn’t really argue with him there, I reckoned.

*so yes, if you’re wondering, even Ray Charles could have found beauty in a sunset because that cat was FULL of soul