I watched the sunset from the top of Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles tonight. Nikki was a few feet down the grassy slope taking cell phone pics of moments and moods and beautiful things while Johanna learned how to use the new easy timer app on hers. This is Johanna’s second time with us so she is gazing for 35 seconds, and using a timer of her own now. We arrived early and waited for the white hot chewy center of our solar system to melt down into a smoldering and manageable yellow that would just pour easy down to the back of our eyes and into our brains and necks and gums. The sky began to darken, and while the full circle could still be seen lingering in the sky, we gazed.
All the regular characters of giddiness, addiction to the light and not wanting to look away were present for all of us, again. And the sun was gentler, and much easier on the eyes; the quality of light at sunset is different than at the start of the day. It winds you down, tells you to relax and brings you peace and comfort. During the day it tells you to perk up, to love life, to conquer, overcome and to play. It is the same energy, it is love, it is heat, it is home. But it has a different quality about it as it rises than as it sets. My eyes burn less and don’t squint at the evening sun. In the morning it wakes me up with a splash of cold water and a playful yet startling slap in the eyes.
There is something humbling about rearranging your life and schedule so you can follow the sun around, as Nikki puts it. I am starting to see what she means. We see the dimming scrim that twilight drapes over our reality just a short while before sunset and we all drop what we are doing, check our watches and begin racing toward the mountain top with nothing but a slight shade of difference in the quality of sunlight as our cue. The sun has trained us. He peeks over in the morning; I race to see his face. He casts the grey hue of evening over my environment and I drop everything for one last look. He is Pavlov, I’m his dog. Nikki was right, he commands humility. But as I experience more this fascination and curiosity and inspiration that is growing inside me I realize that the sun doesn’t demand such a state from us, he does not command it or insist upon it. He awakens it; something humble that was already stirring in our core. So we scramble to see the sun before she slips down behind the houses, behind everything.
SIDE EFFECTS: I felt a little nauseous after we finished tonight with a dull ache in my forehead.
BENEFITS: I am learning discipline as I commit to a daily ritual.