Matt McHugh
Matt - Blog - November 2007


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Magnificent Sunset
November 3, 2007

Walking home from the train station tonight, I just had to stop and take in one of the finest sunsets I've seen in ages. I couldn't actually see to the horizon, but the play of light and color in the sky was just magnificent. To the West, long stratus clouds stretched in glowing gold swaths against a perfect azure backdrop, the line of branches and rooftops, crisp black silhouettes. In the East, scattered cumuli hung still in the graying air, their edges tinged just perceptibly pink. I watched for 15 minutes as the sun, unseen, dropped lower and slowly drew a whole spectrum across the sky, coalescing to textures of lavender near the end before fading to a featureless slate to usher in the night.

You will never see that. Oh, you might see, have seen, similar things many, many times. Maybe you appreciate it. Maybe you don't really notice. But tonight's sunset, standing with me in the middle of the empty high school field in my little town, you will never see... that moment will never repeat. Perhaps it's just my ill mood as of late, but that strikes me as devastatingly sad. The simple, overwhelming beauty of a colorful day's end is lost--my purple prose rendering of it laughable, and even worse, inadequate.

Lately, it's occurred to me that what's good about me, what's good about the world, are those small, private moments of reflection, of inexpressible clarity, that can never be shared. Do what I may, they are lost, and I am left fumbling for explanations as to why they deserve to be remembered at all. We all have them, those tiny revelations that evaporate before we can grasp them. Maybe they mean nothing in the long run, but I believe they do change us in increments. I'm something different--something better--than I was before sunset, and I will never be able to explain it to you in any meaningful way.

Just bugs me sometimes.

-- mm

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