Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sunset Chaser

Last night, my middle daughters and I walked out of Target with an armload of groceries and ran smack dab into this gorgeous sunset. We stopped dead in the middle of the sidewalk, whipped out our cameras, and started snapping. 

Look at the way that the clouds stream out of the golden ball of setting sun, like tongues of fire. It's as if every cloud in the sky aligned itself to the others, so that the entire heavens came together to create one cohesive composition.

After we took a dozen shots each and admired the glory with our own two eyes, we bid the sun adieu, climbed back into the car and headed for home.

About halfway home, as I pulled up to the light at Bev-Ed Road and glanced out my window to the west, I was shocked to find that the sunset was still alive and well. In fact, it had grown more intense and interesting in the passing of five minutes' time. The clouds overhead had thinned themselves into more delicate, whispy bands of white, and along the horizon sat soft, fluffy heaps of clouds, bathed in golden light. I rolled slowly through the intersection, clicking photos all the while. 

As I drove the last few miles home, our anticipation grew. Maybe the sunset would hold out another five minutes, giving us time to drop the car in our driveway and bolt down the hill to our favorite sunset-viewing spot. Hurry!!

At home, as I parked the car and headed down the hill, the magic intensified. The clouds now appeared as long pink and gold spokes.

And further down the hill, as the tall trees thinned out, the sun reappeared as the firey hub at the center of the spokes. The higher clouds became more intensely pink, while the ones lower in the sky glowed a deep gold. 

At the bottom of the hill, where the Olympic Mountains can be seen standing majestically to the west, the sun had just slid behind their jagged ridge, lighting the edge with a brilliant gold. The camera could not do this beauty justice. Sigh.

But still, as I trudged back up the hill with my daughter, I was contented and happy to have seen such a glorious evening display. This sweet tuxedo cat sat calmly in his yard and watched us walk by. 

He seemed a charming and precious little sight after the rich indulgence of the sunset, and I felt very satisfied. 

Little did I know what was yet to come.

When I got back home, I went straight to the kitchen to put away the groceries and get started on dinner. As I glanced out my kitchen window, I almost fell over. 

Far from being over, this sunset had intensified yet again. In my very own backyard, we found the most glorious sight of the entire evening. Blown by winds in the upper atmosphere, the cloud spokes were now blurred and layered one over the other. In the darkening sky, the pinks and golds grew more rich and complex. It was, in a word, unbelievable.

And as my daughter and I clambered around, standing on our patio chairs and trying to get the best angle on this remarkable sight, I thought about those guys who chase around after tornadoes with their video cameras, hoping to either record the beastly storms of their dreams or die trying.

My  preoccupation is neither so dangerous or deadly, but I definitely think I have earned the title of sunset chaser.

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Sunset chaser: A traveler who spies a gorgeous display on the evening horizon, and, throwing all other thoughts aside, pursues a prime viewing location from which to photograph the sky. 

I am a sunset chaser and here are just a few of the stories of my adventures:

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Ready for more sunset-chasing adventures? Read these:

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