Posts Tagged ‘sunset’

Sun and Rain

18 January 2010

Dear J-

At one point this afternoon the rains came down like a refund from the heavens: here, you forgot this; maybe you can use it later. Pelting down from dark clouds, sheets walking across the roof, tympanic beats marking the passage of the day with punctuated motion. Here, on. Off. Abruptly the water shuts off, swallowed into the desert floor and spirited away to secret thirsty roots ready to awaken again as the world turns moist again, soggy and shining by turns.

After all, it’s magic when the clouds grow thin as the sun goes down; the world is cast into a kind of golden twilight glow for twenty minutes. The glow hits everything right; it doesn’t matter what the freeway reveals, the grit and castoff splash glitter alike under heaven’s glow. You’d swear that the sparks were flying straight in your eyes, you’d swear that we were all luminous beings under the garish show above. All the trinkets and dreams shower down in equal measure.

The further we get from perfect — the longer you spend outside the kingdom — the more these Maxfield Parrish moments make sense. You know that the light can be that wonderful and as a photographer you scout locations with the idea that you’ll return at the moment where the dying light intersects the forms and shapes just right. It’s trite to talk about sunsets as photographic fodder (kittens and kids, too, though I have been guilty of those, even multiple offenses), but coming after the rains today, I appreciate the light streaming down reminding me I’m alive.

Mike

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Mind Block

29 January 2009

Dear J-

Funny thing about sunsets here — lately they’ve been so regularly spectacular (and being on the west coast, working in spitting distance of the ocean means that every night this month we’ve watched that bloody orb slide into the sea) that I start to gloss over how impressive its been.  So it goes; the slightest rain sends us into timid sulkiness, and temperatures lower than fifty are greeted with grumbling about how global warming can’t come soon enough.  The “Kurt Vonnegut” (really Mary Schmich) Wear Sunscreen speech from a few years ago advocated living in both Northern and Southern California, but leaving before the North made you too soft, and the South made you too hard.

We believe that whatever our faults may be down here in the South, surely everything else must offset those faults:  the laid-back attitude compensates the risk-taking, you’re regularly stuck in traffic but at least you can roll down the window and enjoy the weather, sure there’s earthquakes but at least no hurricanes.  I suppose it comes down to weighing your trade-offs, and what you find important.  With the forest of rumors and the current economic climate I actually find myself weighing options I wouldn’t have guessed at six months ago.

We have the question of relying on public schools — that’s at least a decision that can be deferred another four or so years — or hoping that figgy qualifies to go to a magnet, or contemplating private school.  This leads to the idea of moving for a better district, but trying to sell in this market is akin to cutting off your leg.  For fun.  So if not moving, perhaps a more secure job?  Or am I secure enough and just regretting the commute more with each day?  When I was little it seemed like the more you grew up the more answers you had to all those whys and hows.  Maybe it was just a shell game, this balancing the sheer terror of overwhelming choice with irresistible forces of change.  I believe it was more a simple prioritization and then fitting the pieces into place around that skeleton.

Mike

A-B-Sequel

11 July 2008

Dear J-

Morning moves without warning; the sun shoulders the burden of the day and muscles the clouds out by sheer will, most times.  Noon passes in shadowless content and smug splendor, knowing it won’t last forever, knowing there’s no other time like it.  Often afternoons I spend half-dozing from the aftereffects of lunch, ennui, and general exhaustedness — Fridays in particular — but perk up at the pleasant thought of returning home.  Plan your days around the times you look forward to; for me, these last few days of sticky humidity have left clouds in the sky to catch that fire at sunset.

Quickly enough, though, that light passes, despite our best efforts at better-than-real in overblown saturation and contrast (wouldn’t we just be better off with a polarizer?).  Remember that a photograph starts in your eye, and reflects the moment as you remember it.  Some folks may react if those same images dredge up some shared memory as well.  That’s the beauty of our common culture.

Understand that I keep my eyes glued to the sky because of its shifting moods.  Variety makes for a kaleidoscopic show.  What inspires you?  Xerxes was compelled to build empires because of something, right?  Your reasons may not be as transparent as Alexander (and Bucephalas), but that doesn’t make them any less valid.  Zebras don’t choose their stripes, and your reasons are, I suspect, just as fundamental.

Mike

Always So Magic

6 December 2006

Dear J-,

There’s a line from The Wedding Singer that sounded great — Robbie, Adam Sandler’s character, says he wants to be a songwriter, one who’s going to write a song that makes people think “Man, I get what he was thinking when he wrote that.” Isn’t that the whole purpose of writing anything?

I’m back on the East Coast again again for the first time in what, eight years? At least since I was in school, and I can only think of everything that’s changed since then. Was it always so lonely, this being apart, a whole continent in between?

(I don’t wanna be lonely, baby, please help me)
I wanna love you all over

— Huey Lews and the News, Do You Believe in Love

I know that it’s got to be some kind of minor hell, or more precisely, some kind of karma for never appreciating all the thousands of kindnesses theVet does for me every day. Man that sounds horrible, like I just miss having a servant. Let them eat cake, that kind of stuff. Lonely’s more than that. Days like these, nights like these, I feel lonely in my own skin. I just don’t know what to do by myself any more. No, lonely’s gotta be somewhere between the last seat on the bus and watching the lights flicker and glow out at closing time. It’s empty chairs and desperate calls to 411, trying to remember, trying to reconnect. Lonely’s knowing just how many vacant minutes fill each dark night. It’s 18 000 days — 540 000 hours of knowing exactly what you need and learning how badly you picked that bet. All this time I thought the future was just more of the same, and I dreaded it a thousand times more than the million slow deaths of humiliation I’d already had in my life — the petrification of actually having to stand up and speak in front of everyone, everyone’s eyes, everyone’s expectations weighing a thousand tons of stares.

Dream a dream of the future with me — grey at the houses of worship, lines changed to canyons (you know I’m now almost halfway to where grampa was the first time we met?) — but that’s only the part I can’t control. I’ve said it before: now I can’t wait. Each day is a day closer, and thus another chance to discover. Yeah, I know it sounds completely Polyanna, sunshine lollipops and rainbows and yet I still can’t help but feel a little giddy about it all. Maybe it’s just who I am, but I’m still learning, learning that love is in the details. Figure it this way: 80 years, 365 days, 2 times the sky catches fire at dusk and dawn. 56 000 opportunities to share your life and amazing times while the world reminds you it’s all still magic, it’s all so magic.

Mike