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My Passive Place
A sunset is a beautiful thing. Looking out into it now is more calming than a simple act, like listening to a raindrop fall into a pond the day after a storm. Even one leftover raindrop cannot compare with the sights and sounds of the late July sunset.
I sit on the dock below my cottage; my feet are making slow circles in the deep water before me. The only sound I can hear is the gentle ripple I’m creating, and the faraway sounds of laughter. It’s not average laughter, or even out of control hysterics; it’s the kind of laughter you only hear when you’ve taken a vacation with the people you love. The type of laughter that can only exist for the few days you can get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The type of laughter that isn’t strangled by the sickening remembrance of worries or cares, anger or sorrow. The type of laughter you only experience when you are one with yourself and nature, Mother Earth surrounding you and being you.
My Capri’s reach my knees, and allow the lake water to reach my calves, caressing my sun-kissed skin. I feel the touch of warmth only the Sun can provide trace my outline in the increasing darkness, allowing me one last memory of day to hold on to.
A light wind brushes my hair from my face, touching my check and tickling my nose. I’m familiar with this wind. I spend nearly every day with it, as the wind takes me from place to place. Through the forest or over a waterfall, the wind is always there. It is a comfort and a familiarity.
I feel the damp wood of the dock under my legs and my hands, which rest on its surface. The wood has a terrific smell. It seems to trap the smells of nature, within it. Whether it is the sweet smell of a single red rose, or the scent of the forest after a rain shower. The logs of my dock were taken from Mother Earth, and remain loyal, never forgetting it’s original purpose or meaning. The wood smells of life, long ago lived by the tree from which it came.
Out on the lake I see a canoe cut through the surface of the water. It is gentle, silent, but quick. The canoe understands the water and works with its force to succeed in its mission. A paddle strokes the divide between water and air as gently as a feather.
Overhead in the darkening sky immediately above my head I see three birds fly. They swoop and soar in patterns as intricate as a spider’s web, but are far more beautiful. They are larks, singing sweet and unearthly melodies to each other. One spreads it’s wings and dives lower, feeling freedom rush through it’s feathers as he lifts up and leads the birds away, out into the eve towards the sunset.
I watch the sun as it makes its descent in the sky, flickering it’s powerful light one last time over waves of water, tops of trees, and hundreds of hills. The outlines of trees against the sky are the starting line for shadows to creep over the land in a race as night replaces day.
But in this moment, night and day are equally present. They show that everything of Earth can live in unison, if only for a few, precious moments.
The sun is a beautiful portrait, made of oil paints in colors that range from gold, to butter yellow, to citrus orange. I feel that if I reach out and touch the sun, I will be holding a bowl of fruit, as if it is a still life painting. A golden apple as the core, with a ring of oranges and jewel-pink grapefruit on the side, and finally, the bowl would be rimmed with the dark purple of a plum. The colors of the fruits add personality to the picture.
If the sun is a painting, then the sky is a canvas. The canvas stretches and allows space for the center of our universe to fulfill it’s full potential. The suns rays reach across the sky, ending in streaks that are of blood. The blood of the Sun, and of Mother Earth reminds me that our planet is living. It is strong and beautiful, and is more extraordinary than any one person can ever be. Earth is also humble, never forcing its beauty on us, but if we care to open our eyes, we may see.
There is nothing more beautiful than a sunset. No matter how many times I say it, this statement does not lose it’s meaning or become untrue.
This is an everlasting gift given to us by darling Mother Earth. As the sphere of light we call the Sun says it’s final goodbye’s to the land and lake around me, I try one last time to take this all in before it is gone.
My feet still touch the gentle water and the canoe still works beside it, the sounds of family still echo in the background providing a small refuge of comfort inside me, I continue to acknowledge the deep and delicious scents of life as they intoxicate me, and the larks swoop ahead attempting to follow the sunset. Perhaps the divine birds wish to catch up with the sun so that it may never leave them to night again.
I know I will not attempt to catch the sun. I know as well as Mother Earth that the sun will be up again at dawn, will signal lunchtime at noon, and will paint a portrait in the evening sky again tomorrow. If there is anything I can trust in this world, it is the Earth. Even now, in the shadow of the day, I feel excited. I know the sun will return again in the form of a beautiful sunrise, the only sensation to rival the sunset. The sun may only be a thin pink strip at the edge of the lake, but it is a part of a cycle. If there is one thing of which I am always certain, it is that the sun will come again tomorrow.
As the sun disappears behind the breathtaking curve of the Earth, night begins to awaken around me. I can hear new sounds and smell new scents that belong to the night rather than the day, but I decide not to. I’ve had my fill of nature’s beauty for one day.
I lift my wet feet from their place under the waves and stand on the dock. As I begin my short walk back up the hill to the cottage, I also begin my journey back to everyday concerns of life, love and material things. But I know that just for a moment, as I watched the sun set, life was simple. Just for a moment, the beauty of being alive was the most important thing on my mind.
As I remember the beauty of the sunset, I feel happy and whole. I belong to Earth as it belongs to me. If the sunset can be beautiful inside and out, maybe I can be beautiful too.
But for now I return to my cottage, and take one last look over the Earth. I take a deep breath and recall the dream of nature and color I’d been a part of as I take one last look on my passive place. And I remember; there is nothing more beautiful than a sunset. Except life, of course.