I was very happy in our white townhouse at the bottom of the hill forest, next to the blueberry farms. After living at a busy intersection in the city, across the street from a fire station, at first the silence of that place was a heavy velvet. For six years, we basked in the home we created there, raising a quartet of blue-eyed babies. I confess it was with a heavy heart that I packed up, wondering if we had made the right decision to sell, to buy, to move our lives up the hill. What could be better on the other side? This is what we know, this is what we love, we have been happy here.
That first night in our new home, I watched the sun set out of the front window over the tops of the trees of the neighbourhood.
And I realized for the first time that I hadn’t seen the sun set in six years.
For six years, I have lived at the bottom of the hill, tucked away from the sight of the sun setting in the west. For six years, I sort of forgot about the sunset, busy with babies who go to bed early, with the life we had, with books to read, with friends to call. I simply closed the blinds when it became dark, seeing a bit of light behind the trees so that they became a dark lace before me and it was enough beauty then.
Every day now in our blue-grey house, I slide the blinds to the top of the window, all the way up, and then I wait for this moment. I stand in the front room like the call to prayer has been issued, greedy for the colour and the end. I had forgotten how glorious it is to watch the day end, how could I have forgotten? how the indigo clouds sweep long and low across the horizon and the saturated heavy colour of fire and salmon and nectarines soak into the sky, how the pine trees turn black against them in the silhouette I know better than the freckles on my own face, how it changes and deepens as the night wears on until I’m standing alone in the dark, just a glow of a day remaining and the stars appearing, small galaxies burning so far away.
I think sometimes that this is the story I’ll always tell – I had something precious once, I lost it or I left it or I forgot it or I threw it away or I disdained it or I journeyed far from it, and then I returned wiser and saner and better, as T.S. Eliot said, returned in order to know what I had in the beginning for the first time. We’re all circling around the same stories, we all come home eventually even if we didn’t realise just how far we had wandered until we were home again with new eyes.
For six years, I forgot about the sunset. And now I have remembered.