As my parents approach their eighth decade, I’m frequently called on to fly up to Alaska, from my beach cave in Washington State. Illness, injury and even sibling death, has pulled me back into my family circle these last seven years.
No matter the reason that I’m staying with my parents, hard emotions like stress, tension and worry come with the package. It is wonderful to be there, but it’s not a vacation.
Don’t get me wrong, all the good stuff is included; hugs, kisses, laughter, music, and reminiscing about our shared memories. I cherish the privilege of watching my mother mix colors, to paint another beautiful scene, and then witnessing my dad replenish the flowers next to the my late sister’s portrait.
There’s a phenomena that occurs almost every evening (eventide), that manages to set aside my harder emotions and allows me to soak up the good stuff.
My parent’s home is situated on a slight incline at the outer edge of their little town. Mega-city, Anchorage, is as a distant backdrop.
Each evening, I’m caught off guard when I see the colors begin to dance on the living room blinds. Some days the colors come more slowly and I just get that feeling…then I go look out the window or door. Either way, it is a surprise.
I suck my breath in, then audibly release it; another Alaska sunset has begun.
I grab my camera, and maybe a coat, scarf, and a change from slippers to boots. Maybe not. Every second counts. The drama of colors and clouds are rearranging in those seconds.
The cars and trucks of local residents whoosh by on the busy road, heading to some “thing” that they think is important. I expect to see vehicles skidding to a stop, right there on the road, to see this more important “thing.”
Instead, they barely notice the beauty before them, and this maniac woman snapping photos (of the ho-hum-we-see-it-every-evening sunset) in her bathrobe and slippers.
I take air into my lungs in huge gulps.
Words escape me, but not sounds, “Ooooh, ahhhh!”
I close my mouth, raise the camera and snap another miracle moment.
Frantic with the need to make someone see this stunning show, I look around for a witness. No neighbors, no one out walking the dog, or pushing a stroller on the paved walking path.
I race, from the end of the long driveway, back to the house and try to lure mom and dad out to see this evening’s wonderment. I can usually get at least one of them to look out the living room window. Sometimes my enthusiasm even gets them to look out the back porch window.
I insist that this evening’s show is even more beautiful than last evening!
Defeated, I go back out and snap a few more shots and can barely make myself stop. I keep glancing back as I move towards the front door. I get right down to the business of putting the miracles on my computer. You should hear the folks ooh and ahh when I show them what they missed.
All the day’s emotional angst seeps away with each second that I watch the dance of the colors with the clouds.
Good medicine, that will last until tomorrow’s worries fill the day. Then they are, again, washed away at eventide.
Reliving this experience in words here, sharing it with you, makes this miracle… eventide everlasting.
Patti Hall 2014
Hey, I hope you find time to check out some of the other A-Z April Challenge blogs here: