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The First Sunset I Have Ever Seen: A Poor Description of an Epiphany

The First Sunset I Have Ever Seen: A Poor Description of an Epiphany

by Sarah Stupak

I really never understood why people were so enthralled by sunsets. They’re pretty, I agree, but I suppose I have had things to do that make looking at a sunset seem like an awful waste of time. Yesterday, I could see the perfect sphere of the sun on the cloud smattered horizon. It was easy to look at and focus upon. My eyes lightly rested there, and I had no need to squint. The land around me was an expanse of blue hilltops and valleys golden with winter-worn tall grasses. As the sun lay swaddled there in the clouds, directly transverse to my position on the earth, I realized what I was looking at. Despite the millions of miles of space, I was seeing a star, so big and so close that it lit my entire day and scorched the land and browned delicate skins in the summer. I was staring at the center of our solar system. The distance in between was black space, yet there was the sky: painted pink and yellow, nothing but luminous. There exists enough room between me and the soft yellow ball for two more entire worlds which do not make up even a fraction of the distance I peered across.

Red winged black birds were calling on rotting wooden fence posts all around me as I watched the orb drop downward. The earth on which I was sitting was rolling away from the Center. I panned my eyes to the opposite direction and saw the sky transform from the yellow pink clouds to the deep blue night. We were rolling away into space. I have never been more excited and overwhelmed about the coming of the next day, when we would roll around to the Center again. It will be our turn to see the Great Star! It will be so glorious! We will literally feel it! It will touch our skin! From those millions of miles, past those other worlds, through space, the orange ball will touch us again. How blessed were the first humans to use this massive, extravagant clock each day. Every brilliant glance was a reminder of where they were in space.

I’ve always, until this moment watching the sunset, felt space to be a separate thing. It was “out there” and I am “in here”. The actual scene, though, is that we are in here, space, touching it every second of every day. On the matter of existence, even if it is all an accident, I found myself to be such a primitive creature, that simple, beautiful realizations and observations of the creation of which I am a part could fill up the glass of my life to the point where I could not possess another thing, mental or physical, that could make me any more pleased. At times like these, I stop hoping desperately for God, and I feel the comfort of a child absorbed in mother’s arms.

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