this miracle of light and life

Evening rush hour, late February: headlights stream by, horns blare, red light, green light, stop, go; ice-encrusted parking lot, salt-smudged cars, penetrating cold; people shove hands in pockets, brace against wind, look down, scurry toward cars or duck into stores.

I’ve just pulled up. As I switch off the engine and step from my car, I don’t flee the elements; I’m unaware of them. If my feet touch the ground, I can’t feel them – not because I’m cold, but because I’ve flown up to embrace the sky.

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Oh, this sky! It’s a fire opal, so glorious I scarcely breathe.

Time stands still, and no matter what the cares of the day have been, this moment, this now, this miracle of light and life is all there is. It happens to me all the time.

A few evenings ago. I stopped for some things at the market. It was twilight, clear and bitter cold. The sky was a spill of indigo, the horizon a luscious, luminous apricot. Low in the west, bright Venus glittered like an ice crystal, close enough to touch, and the waxing crescent moon gave its slender, beneficent silver smile. I lingered there a long while, absorbing this gorgeousness while other shoppers, heedless of the miracle, came and went.

Some find sunset sad, another day gone. Light fades and darkness falls, it’s true, but I prefer to contemplate the words of Robert Browning:

My sun sets to rise again. 

Each sunset is a lavish gift, a spectacular canvas splashed across the sky. It’s also a love letter delivered every day, right on time, always, bringing with it the sure promise of tomorrow’s light.