Monday, July 11, 2011

"Allons voir un coucher de soleil . . ."

. . . I am very fond of sunsets.

I went to the grocery store this evening to pick up a few sundries. As I checked out, I noticed the pink glow coming from outside--one of the most beautiful sunsets I've seen in a while. One of those sunsets that makes you wonder what's wrong with people who are going about their daily business as if there isn't a miracle right before their eyes.

Why do I love sunsets so much?

They are so fleeting, ever-changing. Sunsets are a point of transition, and if you blink, you'll miss them. If you're not in the right place at exactly the right time, you can miss out completely.

Part of my route home was spent driving into the sunset--the last lingering bit of daylight--with all the colors before me. As I turned a corner, I was driving into the night, watching fireflies glow around me and cats begin to lurk in the darkness. The sunset itself is neither day nor night, but it's the point of connection between the two.

We rarely give our transitions enough credit. If you think of it, though, they are hugely important. In writing, transitions go a long way in taking a reader with you from idea to idea. In music, it's the transitions that set truly great musicians apart from mediocre ones, those moments that hold the audience transfixed, wondering what will come next. In life, though, transitions are most often viewed as something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

Our time here in Pittsburgh was always meant to be transitory, and we haven't really tried to make anything beautiful out of it (even to the point of avoiding most attempts at building friendships, until recently). As uncertainty looms, and we (like so many other [soon-to-be or] recent graduates, and Americans in general) are left to wonder if we'll be able to "make it" any time in the near future, this transition time seems as though it's just an obstacle--something standing in the way of us and our successful, comfortable life ahead.

Maybe I've been judging our transition too harshly. Maybe I shouldn't be frustrated because I'm in the space between day and night, but I should stop and appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of my every moment of transition.

Tonight's sunset.


  1. Remember what our tour guide had to say about transitions at Fallingwater--the hallways were intentionally claustrophobic leading to the release of entering the room.

  2. Rachel, I really appreciate this thought. I am very bad at transitions, and change. It is hard for me to find beauty in these periods, as well. Thank you for reminding me to find beauty rather than just enduring/plowing through to whatever state of stability I'm currently waiting for. Is there ever a true state of stability? Sometimes it seems like all of life is a transition, and I might miss it completely if I don't enjoy some of it.

  3. I second Carrie's comment! This is a great thing to be reminded of, and I'm glad you were able to remind yourself (and me!)

  4. Rachel, this post is so beautiful. It made me miss you and love you all the more. Seriously, am I ever going to see you again? The thought that I might not is depressing. I really ought to stay in contact with you (and people like you) better than I do...