Chasing Sunset

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I love a good sunset. But then again, who doesn’t? I grew up in Naples, Florida, a place famed for its sunsets on the beach. I also love to be behind the camera. When I am behind the camera, I am completely in the moment, not thinking about the future or the past, just in the now and at one with all that is surrounding me. I have taken up trying to get some good photographs of the winter sunsets here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Yesterday, I was grumpy about the fact that the snow hadn’t melted enough to try to get out into the sunshine and take a hike. I just wanted to curl up under my covers and not wake up again until spring. I knew that my husband was trying to get me out of the house so I thought maybe I’d try someplace new for sunset pictures (I’ve been taking them from the hill across from my house). I decided that I could get some pictures at the library. There’s a beautiful mountain that rises up behind it. My daughter had come along to ride her skateboard in the parking lot.

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The mountain rising up behind the library

I got out of the truck and started to take pictures and all my stress began to melt away. I breathed in the cold air, aware that I am just a small part of this infinite universe. There is softness to the setting winter sun. The clouds were wispy with a “come what may” attitude. There were birds soaring nearby allowing the breeze to pass under their wings and lift them high into the heavens. I watched them, I watched the sun setting, and I watched my daughter carve her board across the parking lot. She practiced the bend she would need in her knees and how she would need to balance her body to get the turn she wanted. I watched her dad coaching her and occasionally giving her a little push to catch enough speed on the slight decline of the parking lot. I watched as it became smoother and smoother and thought about how I will see that practice played out when she gets on her surfboard again. I thought about how she is growing up and so much her own person and how I hope she always stays that way.

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While waiting for the skies to shift as the sun lowered, I practiced trying to learn how to take close-up shots and then just stared at the sunset as it calmed my mind.

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We got a call and, as suspected, our son needed picked up from his dinner. This had been the plan, but we thought the timing would be 30 minutes later. I had not caught the pinks that were sure to enter the sky at any moment. My husband asked if I wanted to stay. It would be 30 minutes round trip. Night would be there before he got back. I was nervous. It is a safe area, but still, I would be alone. The body of a young girl was just found the day before in a nearby city and two Virginia Tech students are charged with the crime. I know my circumstances are different, but it still makes me uncomfortable. And then I am mad that I am scared. Where did the fearless girl go that ran barefoot through the Florida wilderness, never afraid, just watching for Diamondbacks at her feet, and respecting their home? My husband does not try to decide for me. Upon reflection, I am grateful that he leaves the choice up to me.

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My daughter, sliding over to make room for me

My daughter, however, does not want me to stay alone. And that solidifies my decision. I do not want to be cause for her concern. I climb into the truck. There will always be more sunsets to chase.

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And I’ll rise up – I’ll rise like the day – I’ll rise up – I’ll rise unafraid-  I’ll rise up  -And I’ll do it a thousand times again -Andra Day “Rise Up”

Let your light shine!


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