You and Me and Sunsets

There are two days every year that I am extra sure to watch the sunset: June 4 and December 15.

On those days, Jay’s birthday and the day he passed away, the sky is always painted in the most magnificent colors right before dusk. Maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks; wishful thinking for some sign of a significant afterlife. Maybe the sky is always that beautiful, but I’m too busy or too stuck in my own problems to look up. Whatever the reason — divine intervention or dumb luck — I have come to be comforted by the sunsets.

Last summer on this day, I was walking home from the art lodge in Alaska and looked out over the water to see one of the most breathtaking phenomenons I have ever been lucky enough to witness. This past December 15, I was on my way home from rural Missouri, speeding past snowy hills, and staring out the window at warm watercolor skies.

I don’t know much about heaven or angels, but I do know Jay knows I love sunsets. I’m sure it’s his little way of  reminding me that he’s keeping an eye out.

For some, like the Little Prince, sunsets are a symbol of overwhelming nostalgia:

“One day,” you said to me, “I saw the sunset forty-four times!”
And a little later you added:
“You know–one loves the sunset, when one is so sad . . .”
“Were you so sad, then?” I asked, “on the day of the forty-four sunsets?”
But the little prince made no reply.

— Le Petit Prince par Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

For me, they are a brilliant flame, dancing and screaming “I am here” right before it is snuffed out, only to be cautiously relit the next morning.
Even if it’s only twice a year I can claim these light shows are specifically Jay’s handiwork, these stunning sunsets makes the ache in my heart just a little more bearable.

Thank you, Jay. I’ll be looking for you tonight. I love you.

jay's sunset
Three Mile Lake, Wasilla, Alaska. June 2013.



5 thoughts on “You and Me and Sunsets

  1. Hi, Hanna! I’m sorry to say that this is my first blog entry that I am commenting on but I oh my, I love you! Now my actual reply:

    Oh, gosh. This post really hit home and your writing, your beautiful writing, summed up what I have been feeling about all of the death around me. I don’t know if you knew this about me but I LOVE Le Petit Prince and even as a future high school English teacher, I promise that I will find someway to incorporate this book into my classroom. The first time I read this book, it was in French, and I still only own the French version, but I could still make out so clearly that what The Little Prince felt when he watched a sunset is what I sometimes feel, too.

    Thank you for writing this!

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