On Beauty: “Sunset” Parable

I (Liz) just wrote a piece about watching a sunset that may help us to meditate on the beauty of our lives. This piece is also a part of a larger project that Jeremy and I are working on: we’re writing (and illustrating) a book of parables! But more on that later perhaps.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts after reading this piece.

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I have been driving on the highway for some time before I notice the yellow glow behind the mountains. Once I see it, I cannot take my eyes from it. I steal glances from behind the wheel, and when the off-ramp turned my car East, I strain to see the colors in the rear-view mirror.

The clouds are streaked with yellows and purples when I pull into the driveway. I open the car door and hurry inside, where I find Jeremy at work in his studio.

“Babe,” I say, “You have to come with me. I want to show you something.” He wipes his hands on his pants and I grab his hands in mine.

“Quick!” I say. Jeremy lets go of my hands to slip on some sandals, and as soon as one of his hands is free, I hold it and take off, bringing us out the back door and into the yard, leaving the back door ajar.

“Look at the sky,” I say. “Do you see it just beyond the trees?”

“Ooo,” says Jeremy.

“Come on,” I say, “Let’s try to get a better view.”

We walk beyond our garden into the alley behind our house and out onto the nearest street corner. Now we can see that the sky has changed again, throwing pink, purple, and yellow clouds across the expanse before us.

We stop short, staring at the beauty that lies before us. Jeremy stands behind me, holding me with both arms. “Wow,” he finally says, slow and quiet. We stay still for several minutes watching the light change, as color fills up our eyes to overflowing.

Then Jeremy says, “I’ll be right back,” and he goes inside the house. He comes back two minutes later with folding chairs. We sit down to watch the finale.

Meanwhile, cars pass on the street. Several drivers wonder at us, staring and pointing, while others drive past without even noticing us.

“Strange that they don’t turn to see what we’re looking at,” I say to Jeremy.

The sky has now turned to an orange, the same color as the light from the street lamps that have begun to illuminate the neighborhood. Highlights of purples and pinks begin to fade behind the bulge of the Rocky Mountains.

I put my arm around Jeremy and his metal chair, and rest my head on his shoulder in the quiet.

“We don’t normally have sunsets like this, do we?” I say.

“Well, I don’t know. Usually we’re inside the house at this time of night,” says Jeremy.

I wonder how many sunsets we’ve missed over the past nine months living on our block. But just as I begin chiding myself, Jeremy begins to hum, and then to sing. It’s one of my favorites, and I find myself smiling, forgetting my thoughts. I listen and then join in at the chorus: “Let’s sing, let’s sing, for joy, for joy. Let’s sing, let’s sing, for joy, for joy…” The song ends, and we sit still.

Finally Jeremy says, “You ready to go back inside?” I look around and see that the sky has just  turned an ash grey. Night is on the horizon.

I sigh and say, “Let’s go,” and we carry our chairs in our arms and sing our way home.

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