Distance, New Start

An Invitation to a Sunset

We saw it again. Right in the middle of Unorthodox, in full view from our old couch in our new living room. In Texas. My husband grabbed the remote and hit pause. The sun is putting on a show again. Like a peacock strutting its jewel-colored feathers, the sun was shaking out all the sunset shades it had in its plumage. We marveled at the performance, calling out the layers of yellow, orange and crimson all dissolving into the purple sky. What words can you use to describe this brilliance?

Sunsets say celebrations to me. The kind that is best enjoyed when shared.

They make me feel like somewhere in the world someone has done something worthy for us all to celebrate and, on cue, we practice good sunset citizenship to stop what we’re doing; to pause and to appreciate the wonder of the event.

My husband and I experienced our first Texan sunset before we actually moved in. We were still in Ohio in the midst of paring down and packing up our belongings. An email came at six that November evening from our realtor with a picture from the previous owner and a note that simply said:

‘Tonight’s sunset to share with the buyer.’

We had already purchased the house by then and was scheduled to close in a month. The sunset — and the sharing of it —  felt like an invitation to build upon the memories at the house and a celebration of the forthcoming adventures both our families will enjoy.

I’ve tried to capture these sunset performances in photos since the first week we moved in. Then the next, and the next but it was as if Nature did not want to give it all away.  It’a like she’s telling me: They have to be present.

But I want my friends to see this, I say. 

I miss them, and I want to send them a picture to say, hey, I’m watching this sunset – catch it this evening and know that I watched the very same sun, three states away.

Now, like my family in Singapore and my daughter in Arizona, my friends in Ohio are on a different time zone. Our friendship, at a different juncture. I think our lives can and will still converge, like the latitudes and longitudes on the map that document the distance between us. But it will never be the same. We have found ways to connect differently. Virtual happy hours were enjoyed even before the pandemic. Birthdays are still celebrated. Stories still shared. 

Photo by T.H. Chia on Unsplash

As our worlds have, on one level, been condensed to the space where safety is most guaranteed, it has also exponentially expanded. The new normal, as we are calling it, suggests with change comes a recalibration of the decisions we make and resolutions of what is important for us to keep doing. 

And so, I will continue to try and capture these sunsets from my backyard and share them with my friends. It will be my invitation for us to build upon the memories of our friendship, and a celebration of the forthcoming adventures we will enjoy.

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