Driving Through Sunset

“Against the gradually darkening sky, the branches of the tree traced a pattern of twigs and leaves – a pattern of such intricacy and delicacy that those standing below might look up and wonder why the world can be so beautiful and yet break the heart.” From Alexander McCall Smith’s The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party.

Like Alexander McCall Smith’s character, Mma Ramotswe, I often find myself looking at the sky. It is so profound a thing that it makes me understand that Bible verse ‘deep calls to deep’ like nothing else does. My soul looks to the sky and is deeply moved.

I recently wrote about driving through sunrise. Since then, the clocks have changed and I have often found myself driving through sunset.

During a time when achingly sad things have happened in my community, and when my thoughts have been drawn to some of my own losses, the sunset is soulful, emotional and ever so resonant.

Every day has its end, of course. And sometimes this seems so desperately sad, cruel even, this passing of time, the way things and people leave our lives or even our world. And so often it seems so soon, too soon.

What breaks the heart and heals it is how majestic the end of a day can be. Drive through sunset and you’ll see: so many of our days are graced with an ending so breathtaking, so lovely, so huge!

There is a comfort and a reassurance about the slow, beautiful passing of day into night. It’s in the way the sun takes its time to disappear over the horizon: there’s no rush as the globe spins into night. It’s in the way the liquid gold bleeds across the sky, the gorgeous, glorious light spilling across clouds and landscapes. It’s in the way the clouds gather and spread, swirl and float, blanket and roll. It’s in the vastness of the sky; day ends but the sky doesn’t. It’s in the way stars begin to show, distant lights in growing darkness. Moon appears as sun rolls away and the sky still stretches above us.

When I drive through sunset, I can take my time celebrating the day for all its holy ordinariness. I can take my time letting go of the day and the things that are passing. I can mourn, and my tears, too, seem sonehow sacred. I can watch the sun go down and I can lift my face to the night and I can know that morning will come and time is precious and that life is sad sometimes but also devastatingly lovely.

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