On Sunsets

I’m in my wonderful little camper in the most incredible campsite I’ve ever seen: Twelvemile Beach in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. My campsite is huge, remote, and steps away from the beach.

Yep, that’s Lake Superior in the background!

The campground faces west which means it’s pointed directly at the sunset. Genius, campground planners.

Tonight the sunset began around 9 pm and now, at 10:10 pm, it’s finally dark. You’d think I’m camping in the Arctic Circle. Since it’s about 45 degrees, that might be accurate.

Ok, so here’s my point. As the sun touched Lake Superior, five campers near me scampered to the beach to watch. They were one group of three and a couple and I’d guess all were under 30. I stood on an outcropping that overlooked the 5 on the beach and, bourbon in hand, toasted a beautiful sunset.

But the saddest thing happened. As soon as the sun dropped into the lake, the 5 left. I wanted to yell, “No! Wait! This is when it gets good!” Because we all know that the real colors of the sunset happen after the sun is gone and its rays cause the clouds to explode with color.

This is what they missed.
And this.

Maybe thanks to the bourbon and the beautiful solitude I’ve experienced for the last couple of days (love you all but days and days with no interaction are so good for the soul), I had a bit of an epiphany. The best parts of our lives, the most beautiful and breath-taking parts, happen when we think we’re done.

You’ve done everything you can. You’ve fulfilled your end of the bargain. Finally, you throw up your hands and watch it all drop into the lake, sure that’s the end.

But then, without warning, the color explodes before you. Oranges and reds and pinks consume your sky as the relationship is healed, the second career brings joy, the prodigal returns.

We tend to give up too early. We think we have seen the end and we walk off the beach, not aware that that’s when the beautiful part begins. Oh, but if we stay! If we wait just a little past the time when we want to give up, what a reward!

Hmm. Apparently I’m waxing philosophical which isn’t all that like me. But something in me says I’m on to something here.

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