People have often asked what the difference is betweeen sunrise and sunset, between dawn and dusk. Really, in practical terms, the difference is which part of the sky is involved. East is sunrise, west is sunset. But they feel different. For whatever reason, I always know which are which, maybe because i remember when the pictures were taken. These are all dusk or sunsets, taken in Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York.
Yes, I know my numbers are out of order. That’s the price we pay for trying to work with material coming from the other side of the world. Posts show up late, sometimes a couple of days late and since I can’t control when they wind up in my “inbox,” I just do the best I can. Hope no one minds!
The west-facing road that passes our house and travels from route 146A all the way to Johnston, Rhode Island, a big area for antiques. I don’t go there because I’ll buy something. I don’t go to antique stores, book stores, or art galleries. These are places I find irresistible. Not only do I not have extra money to spend, but I need more antiques like I need a hole in my head.
Along this little road are at least three small towns, all located on a waterway. There is a lot of water around here and it all flows south towards the Atlantic Ocean and exits via Narragansett Bay. Which is, of course, the outlet of the Blackstone River and almost every other river and stream in the Blackstone Valley.
In case you didn’t know, the Blackstone Valley runs through two states. It begins at the head of the Worcester Hills in Massachusetts and continues through Rhode Island until it runs into the ocean. Along its route are more rivers most of which are tributaries of the Blackstone. Also interesting are the ponds, lakes, streams, and rivulets, often unnamed. Just more water.
Route 98 runs through inhabited areas. Lots of small farms and tiny groups of homes too small for maps to name them as a village, though most places have a name. A few have no names. They are simply a crossroads with a shop and a couple of houses. But of course, we have towns that look like that too.
I was amazed at the sunsets everywhere in Arizona. Just when I thought they couldn’t be better, the next night would be even more brilliant.
And so it went from one night to the next night, glorious sunset after sunset. In the mountains and even from city streets. Some nights, the sunset was so red it turned the mountains red, too.
It was an amazing sunset. It wasn’t just the western side of the sky. It was the entire sky in all four directions. There was the purple and pink end and the orange and gold section and some other almost indescribable colors — red, maroon, violet, yellow. What a display!
Both Marilyn and I were taking pictures. The sky was really awesome, as in able to strike awe in all who saw it.
Another picture from the series on our street during that sunset in February. I love the colors in this one. The sky was bright blue, the clouds were purple and the naked trees made their own designs again the backlit sky.
It was just another day coming home from the doctor. Our house is due west from the doctor’s office. I knew this because the sun was in our eyes all the way home. I thought it would be dark when we got back, but there was absolutely no traffic and we swept home at a brisk pace.
Which meant there were a few pictures to take on the way. Not as glorious as the last ones, but still, very pretty (and entirely square) sunset pictures.
This was the first time I’ve used my new Panasonic camera since I got it a couple of months ago. I’m not really used to it yet, but it does seem to do a pretty nice job especially considering it was quite dark by this time.
I’ve never seen this before or since. It was February. The trees were bare and we were coming home from Connecticut. The sky was dark with clouds, but there was a shaft of sunlight and it lit up the trees and turned them to gold. I took pictures and I’m glad I did. I’ve never seen this happen before or since.
So last night, I was watching Saturday Night Live. Minimally, but sort of and at some point they were talking about “living your life as if each day were going to be your last day on Earth.” Given how Earth is doing, that could be tomorrow or later today, but in the meantime …
It occurred to me that I have no idea what I would do if I knew it was my last day. Get really stoned? Nah. Call everyone I ever cared about? Probably not. The phones would be very busy. Does anyone actually have an image of what they might do if they knew this was their last day? Does anyone even think about it? I figure my last day will probably be in a hospital all hooked up to wires and tubes and things that go beep in the night. I probably won’t know it’s my last day because I doubt I’ll be conscious of it being any kind of day — or night.
I’m willing to bet that not one single person actually has “a plan” for their final day on earth or cares to make such a plan. So I think rather than living as if each day might be our last, we should just try to make every day as good as we can, not be excessively grumpy, ill-tempered, or rude.
Any day could be our last. We could be hit by a bus, crushed by a falling tree, have a stroke, heart attack, or fall down the stairs. Or the elevator cords could snap, an earthquake could eat us or fire sweep through our peaceful neighborhood. No one has a calendar that tells them how they will fare on any day.
So I suggest we live in the moment, as much as we are able given the reality that we are not in control of our lives beyond the basics of getting through one day to the next. We can do the best we are able, try to be nice to others, and don’t forget to pet your dogs and cats.
Also, watch out for buses and trucks driven by drunks heading your way.
It was just an ordinary day, driving home.
“Pull over!” I said.
“Pull over! The sun is about to do something really spectacular and I have a camera!”
Sometimes, if you are in the right place at the right time and just happen to have a camera, some amazing pictures show up. This was our own street, too. We weren’t on vacation and I wasn’t looking for pictures, but I always have a camera. This is why.
And so another year has begun. Another decade. The last one was insane. I wonder how bad or great the next ten years will be. I’m torn between a faint hope that things have to get better and a sickening fear that it will never get better. Ever again. That the days we remember are gone and won’t come back.
But until I see it getting worse, I’m going to pretend that it’s about to improve. Because I need hope. Don’t we all?
Other than from the direction, you can’t tell if the sun is coming up or setting. I’ve done all the checking I can and in fact, the light is the same. It depends on the season of the year, but the coloring is identical otherwise.
And yet we are fascinated by the coming and going of the sun. Even when I was a child, I used to stand outside and watch the sky, sometimes for a full hour from late afternoon until final darkness, watching the delicate changes in the sky and the clouds and the way the light filtered through the trees.
I have not yet lost my wonder.
Sue Vincent and I have been talking about pictures you take that are so different that no one even believes they are real. So here are my scarlet mountains which are reflections of the red sunset in the west. The mountains are east of Phoenix.
When I first saw them, I didn’t even believe they could be so red. I’d never seen a sunset so red it reflected a whole range of mountains. So these are the pictures. No filters. No special processing. Just the reflection of a scarlet sunset on the mountains nearby.
It was the theme for my son’s fourth-grade graduation ceremony. Funny that I should remember it so clearly. My son is turning 50 in a few weeks and I’ve forgotten a lot, but this I remember. And I remember that I cried.
Time begins when the sun rises in the morning and ends as it sets at night … well it doesn’t end. It just changes from day to night. Night getting shorter now as we pivot our way around the sun …