Sunset :: Sarah Bessey

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.

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  • SBS

    I watched the sunset from the alley behind my home for the first time in a long while, and your fire and salmon and nectarine imagery really captures the beauty of today’s beauty well. May you and your family be blessed in your new sunset home!

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  • How sweet of God to bring you to a new home where you can bask in the beauty of a beautiful sunset each evening. Isn’t it cool how He cares about even the tiniest of details?!

  • This is one of the things I didn’t realize when we lived in our apartment – we were further in the city than we are now, and I had just come from being raised in a teeeeeeeensy little town and being able to ride my bike to the edges of it in any direction in five minutes or less, I was so used to country skies, and when we lived in our apartment I kind of forgot about what they can do. The house we live in now, every time I leave in the morning I face the sunrise. And I had forgotten what sunrises can be.

    It helps to have a baby who wakes us up before dawn no matter what – we’re always awake and ready when the sun starts coming up.

    • So true! I’m seeing the early mornings every day, girl. 🙂

  • mothering spirit

    Exquisite. I am a sunset watcher, too – obsesser and addict, really. The colors and rhythms mark my days in a sacred way that you have captured here in a way I’ve never read elsewhere. Thank you for this gift. Enjoy your settling in.

  • Irene Hill

    What an exquisite wordsmith you are.

  • Elizabeth F

    SOOO beautiful. Thank you for sharing this, Sarah!

  • EmilyL

    Sarah, this is so beautiful. It reminds me of a line from Marilynne Robinson’s Home:

    “Weary or bitter of bewildered as we may be, God is faithful. He lets us wander so we will know what it means to come home.”

  • We’re just the opposite, having spent many years with a house on the side of a hill with amazing sunsets, but no sunrises. No sun at all until well into the morning. Since we moved this year, we have sunrises to enjoy.

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  • This was beautiful, Sarah. Thank you for this important reminder.

  • Elizabeth M Ryan

    My daughter posted this on facebook. Your photo drew me in first. Opened the blog and was enchanted by what you wrote as I found great truth there. I have like, followed and subscribed and eagerly await your next writing. Also plan to pick up a copy of Jesus Feminist to read. Thank you for adding to my morning in a most pleasant way.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth – so nice to “meet” you. 🙂

  • Kim

    You put in to words the story that I have lived. Not an apartment but in a valley. Physically and spiritually. I love the sun at anytime but the sunset is my favorite time of day. Blessings!

  • Love this post. Beautifully written Such a great reminder that there is good in what we leave behind, and good in what we move toward…sometimes we just need a different perspective. And sometimes we don’t realize what we’ve been missing!

  • Martha

    So good and so true. Just, yes.

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  • such a beautiful poetic reflection! Warm blessings this new home, and many more beautiful evenings watching the sun sinking low!

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  • Mackenzie

    I love the way you eased the vivid sunset into words on a screen; beautiful. I too am a sunset watcher, dashing outside every summer evening to enjoy stolen moments of reverie, just God and the gloriously colored sky and I. Sunsets are my daily reminder of God and His Immesureable Power and Unfailing Love