The Setting Sun Will Rise

October 11, 2010
As the Californian sun set over the churchyard, I scanned the sea of faces both familiar and unfamiliar. I gave a brave smile and waited for a hush to fall over the crowd before I allowed the ceremony to continue. I saw my younger sister holding the hand of the would-be widow, and I instinctively turned away from the sorrowful sight. I approached the podium carefully, collecting my final thoughts before beginning the eulogy, clearing my throat to speak.

“My elder brother, Paul, was a lot of things to a lot of people. He was a fantastic son to our parents, may they rest in peace. He was a hardworking and loving fiancé to his beloved Lucy, and he was the best brother I could have ever asked for.”

With the attention of the crowd, I began to recount my favorite childhood memory of my brother. Paul and I were still living in Colorado at the time, and for one reason or another we had resolved to spend a night in the local wilderness. We packed a few necessary belongings and set out into the warm summer night, with Mother resigning to leave us to our own devices.

We spent the first few hours in the woods running around and generally losing ourselves in the uninhibited freedom and isolation which was unlike anything we had previously experienced. When simply running around and exploring began to lose our interest, we broke off particularly sharp tree branches and began a mock sword fight, clashing back and forth until one of us would trip over a fallen log and come crashing to the forest floor. The branch fights tended to end with both Paul and I clumsily on the ground and covered in dead leaves, laughing at ourselves.

As the nightfall approached, we decided to dig a small ditch in order to create a campfire. Neither of us had been boy scouts, and we weren’t particularly savvy in the outdoors, so it may not have been the smartest decision. Or the safest decision, for that matter. But Paul had taken a few matches from the house before we left, and we soon found ourselves with a small fire to keep us warm throughout the night.

We curled up in our sleeping bags and fell asleep telling ghost stories, attempting to scare each other into returning home. I’ve always had a rough time sleeping, and this impromptu camping excursion was no exception. I awoke early in the morning, when it was still dark, to find that Paul had left our campsite. There was his sleeping bag, his backpack filled with supplies, and the charred remains of our campfire, but Paul was nowhere to be found.

I wasn’t concerned with my brother’s absence, as it wasn’t particularly uncommon of Paul to seek out solace at particularly peculiar times. Instead, I quietly searched for him, hoping to find him without upsetting him by intruding. After an hour or so, I had all but given up when I came across a clearing over looking a beautiful lake. I casually leaned against a boulder and decided to watch the sunrise before returning to the campsite and waiting for Paul.

The sunrise that morning was breathtaking, as the vermillion rays slowly illuminated the forest and the woodland creatures arose from their slumber. The sun shined through the trees and I watched in genuine awe as a warm breeze rifled through my hair. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder, and Paul spoke from over my shoulder.

“It sure is something, isn’t it? The rising and setting of the sun, I mean. For every beginning, there is an end, and for every ending, a beginning.”

“Rest in peace, Paul, we love and miss you.”

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Megan.J.B said...
Feb. 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm
Really beautiful piece of writing. I am generally impressed by your ability to conjure emotions, that I personally have never experienced, such as the lost of a brother. Good job!
Kilikilakia2012This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm
that was really cool, i have always enjoyed the sunrise and sunset. :)
Timekeeper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 9, 2010 at 5:32 pm
Thank you for your comment, it is greatly appreciated! If you want to check out some of my other work, just hit the "More by this Author" button :D
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