I realized a couple days ago that I haven’t seen a sunset in a while. What was even more startling was realizing that I probably won’t be seeing any sunsets for a while.
I gave birth to my son earlier this year, right as governments realized that the pandemic wasn’t, as the President claimed, going to “go away.” Days after his birth, when we were still in a hospital with a newborn, California ordered its residents to Shelter-in-Place. Toilet paper was suddenly scarce, and we weren’t sure what we were going to do.
Fast forward six months, and my child is now an alert infant who has barely met any humans in his short time on earth. Thankfully, when babes are that small, they don’t need much more than Mom and Dad. And, with so much more time together than we ever expected, we’ve had a crash course into a new norm that was a little less “normal” than it might otherwise have been. There’s only a pandemic, wildfires and horrific air quality, race tensions, political tensions, and the fate of the world at stake. Oh, and juggling being new parents.
Let’s put all that aside for now.
The real reason I am writing this post is much simpler. My son goes to bed early, sometimes at 6:00 PM. Throughout the summer, this meant putting him to bed before the sun set. Our days are occupied fully from dawn until dusk by the joyful excitement of watching a newly formed human grow and develop and discover the world.
I hadn’t noticed that I hadn’t seen a sunset until I was browsing the internet and suddenly saw a series of pictures of that evening’s epic sunset over San Francisco skies. The cotton candy clouds and the roaring orange sun, brilliant against the backdrop of a fantastic city– I realized that it had been months since I had last seen a sunset. Sure, I had seen the pink glow from our kitchen window on occasion, and there was at least one day where the sun didn’t show at all (but instead the skies breathed a dark orange all day).
But sunsets? The can’t-rip-your-eyes away rainbow of golds, reds, and purples? The gentle gradient of blues and yellows?
No. Our time is with our son in the evenings. Not with the sun.
It’s a new paradigm. It’s our new reality. We settle in to our evenings early, and life is quiet and mundane and routine in the best of ways. As the world appears to spiral further out of control, our little corner of it stays simple and straightforward.
[Photos taken on film; Canon AE-1, Kodak Portra 400; Asilomar, California, October 2019.]