The Sunset

November 2000

“And I still haven’t gotten to the sunset! -Hard to write about a sunset. But I want a signifier, something to remind me of what is here, the now, living in the present, what is given in desperate states, beautiful respite, what beauty is. ‘There is always the sky.’ No matter what, if there is nothing, there is always the sky. The sky can always be beautiful. This is what I remind myself when I am the most isolated, desperate person on earth, when I think nothing’s worth being here for. -Nothing at all.

See the sky was pregnant with blue today, clouds low and roiling, something Ted Nasmith would paint, and he’s the best cloud painter I’ve ever seen. Low, roiled scapes that weren’t moving at all. The undersides were tinged with a luminous gold; that was a foretaste of things to come, what sent me out of doors. And it was so reminiscent of the month before with Radiohead, the overcast blues, the new uplifting, soaring and melancholy music, this time PJ. The reason the sunset was going to be a good one was because there was a band of clear sky at the horizon underneath the cloudscape, and when the sun hit that it was going to go awol starkers. It was going to be good. The light would be gold. I remembered from that golden morning which had rescued me somewhere in the spring of ‘99. But this would have all the multivariate hues of a sunset too. At least that is what I was hoping as I cast off in my black coat with PJ at my side. (And carrots for the horses, but they were gone for the winter.) Clouds are special, think of the dream of God’s army. Maybe I should add that in here. I’ve got all these dreams on paper I want to put into Word.

-So the sunset. I wondered if by stepping out I could really meet the moment. -The perfect moment for that time, like I had with Radiohead, the molten silver necklaces in the sea.

When I got to the hilltop there were lots of cars, lots of people had figured on the sunset. I went for a special place; the view needed just a little more height than the crest provided. So I sat on top of a granite cylinder five feet tall. It had a brass pointer map showing what all the landmarks viewed from the crest were. But it made a great seat. SE we have jumbled piles of white cumulus tinged with purplish hues. NE the scape ranges almost into purple at times, deep rich blues. SW the Sooke hills pile up in different shades under another cloudscape. This one did a variety of things. Just after I got there the sun met a hole you couldn’t actually see and the sky all changed. The light coming through blazed in highlights of white gold that became paler and paler. As it did the starkness amplified and the world around the sun is black and gold, the hills varying darks, the air between them shades of gold. The sea blazes in a column of white light and where it doesn’t blaze it appears black. This is just like approaching Dublin from London in the air, January. All was black and gold, the sun piercing the clouds in golden rays. -Fantastically beautiful. -Sweet reminder. Except that this is white gold. The sun subsided behind the clouds again. After that I was scared it couldn’t get better. The clear band at the horizon appeared very small. But I waited. -Cold November. It is a cold day to be sitting still in plastic. -Clammy.

When it finally came it was all glory. Oh yes, it was what I’d come for, blue and gold. -Gold on blue. As the sun pealed forth the light was all gold, the trees were golden, those deep blues of the roiled scape were highlighted with a brilliant soft gold. Yes, this is why I came. I blocked the sun from my sight to reveal its full glory. The column in the sea was gold. The sea was purple. As the sun descended the whole sky around it became orange, the rims of the clouds blazed like flames. The sun had its aura spread across the sky and that aura was orange, while its hinterlands made the air red, the clouds pinking up. The further down it went the pinker it got. It was the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my life. One of the departed called it the perfect sunset. It was. I said thank you over and over. It reminded me of a dream I’d had in Ireland on February 25th

The sunset was a reminder. Sometimes the gold reaches underneath the clouds.”