Watching the sun set is one of my favourite pasttimes - it really is the greatest show on earth - at least in my book. I decided to stop at the beach this evening to watch it happen, take loads of photos, and thought I would try my hand at another "high school essay" style post. I put a collage of some of the photos I took this evening above - after all - if I wasn't there to photograph the sunset, did it actually happen?
And since it doesn't really belong at the end of this post, before we even begin, I send you big love from a beautiful beach on this small island...
See you all tomorrow!
"Doan spill too much this time - you hearing me Shemeeka!!!" her mother's voice was shrill and cut through the dust that flew up behind her as she ran down the road in her slippers, with a small bucket in each hand. She shouted instructions until Shemeeka was out of sight and earshot but long before this happened Shemeeka ceased to hear her. It was as if the setting sun cast a spell on her that rendered her immune to the shouts. She was just glad that her stepmother never questioned why she went to gather the evening water without hesitation, even though it meant that she would have to climb that hill in the dark, balancing two buckets of water - enough for the night time baths, and tea and to rinse out the big topsy at the top of the stairs. Of all of her chores this was her favorite. She ran down the hill, the buckets clanging behind her, and she pretended they were church bells ringing for her as she ran down to the road that ran parallel to the sea. There was no sidewalk down here so she ran onto the sand to take the short trip over to the pipe. Or at least that would be her excuse if anyone saw her. But only once did anyone catch her on the beach. And it was one of the boys from the neighborhood who wouldn't tell on her - he wasn't supposed to be down there anyway but he was looking for a marble he thought he had dropped.
As soon as she got to the beach, her pace slowed. She was looking at the holes in the sand and watching for the crabs to poke their heads out. She made her way to the big tree with the gnarled roots twisted around one another and took her seat. It was time for the greatest show on Earth. Shemeeka loved the sunset - it was her favourite time of day. It was as if all of the trials of the day were sinking into the sea, in a glorious haze of coppers, oranges and reds. She would sit by the tree, with the crabs sitting next to her, as if they too were enjoying the show. This evening she was early enough that the sun was still fully visible and some distance above the water. However, it had been raining all day, and the clouds caused the sun to have a flattened appearance with rays appearing to almost pierce the sea. She sat silently and watched it as sunk slowly into the sea.
The thing she loved most about the sunset was the fact that more often than not, the further the sun sank out of sight, the more beautiful the sky became, with pinks, purples and blues joining the orange so that the sky was a beautiful canvas of colours swirling and dancing long after the sun disappeared to... Actually - she was't sure where it went. She liked to think that it eventually settled on the bottom of the ocean and rested over night, but somehow that didn't seem right, and she felt as if that would eventually be extinguished by spending so much time under water, or at the very least start to get faded like her favourite dress that was a bright and vibrant blue like the sea in the morning when it first came in the barrel from her great aunt.
Great auntie used to send down a barrel to her daddy every year, full of curtains, tins of spam and boxes of tea bags, or at least that was all she ever remembered seeing. However, sometimes it would contain a dress for her and a shirt and pants for her brother. He hated the pants that great auntie sent, they were hot and itchy, and so he would sit in church fidgeting and wriggling around on the hard church benches, eager for the moment when the service was over, and he could run home and take it off. She however loved the dresses that Great auntie sent - they made her feel like a princess, even if she could only wear them on special occasion like first sunday when the service was extra long due to the adults going up for communion which sounded fancy - body and blood of our Lord and Savior - but it somehow seemed wrong to drink liquor on a Sunday morning. And why was it alright to have it on Sunday morning but yet when uncle Leonard who lived next door came home late on a Friday night her aunt Sylvia would lock him out for drinking liquor, and she would hear him banging on the door, shouting for her to let him in. Anyway - the dress - it was such a nice blue when it came, but even though she washed it carefully in cold water and hung it up outside to dry, it eventually faded to a colour that was more like the sky on a cloudless day. And maybe if the sun was spending the night at the bottom of the ocean, it would become faded and not shine as bright.
The show was almost over. The sun itself had disappeared, and all that remained were the beautiful swirl of colours spreading across the sky. She was always so amazed at how quickly the colours would disappear, as the sky became darker and darker, until nothing could be seen, not even a cloud, unless there was one being lit up by the moon. The whole thing took about 20 minutes, and now she had to run quickly to the pipe and fill up the buckets before her mother sent her brother to look for her. Her brother never helped her carry the buckets, but taunted and teased her, trying to make her spill the water as she climbed up the hill.
Even as she listened to the water hitting the bucket and filling it up, she was feeling better already. Tomorrow would be a fresh start and anything was possible, and even if tomorrow was the same as today, as it almost always is, she could always dream, picturing the colours from the sky as she closed her eyes that night.