The trees were glowing as I sat down. It’s easy to see them out of the corner of your eye, a momentary receptacle for the globe of fire dipping below the horizon. A sunset has a name that’s clear; I’m not sure what one would call that which stands opposite to it. That is, what to call the red, orange, yellow, gold, pink of the opposing clouds, the clouds to the east. It’s like watching the person behind you in a glass window—you get the gist of it but the details aren’t there. Anyway, there weren’t clouds this time, instead it was just the trees. They hit that perfect moment first, when their naked bark, lacking foliage, blazes nothing less than a brilliant gold. The oaks move occasionally with the breezes more like gusts, branches bouncing and twisting and making you wonder, while they can take so much, what exact stress is needed to make them crack. It sends you back solidly into your place in the moment—fear of bodily harm can pierce through any distraction that way. But as the golden liquid light is drawn up like sap through the prickly treetops, the bark is bleached. Perhaps it’s simply too intense, the reflection of light too much for our human eyes, and thus seems blanched. Or maybe it’s simply what we mean when we say ‘cold’ winter light, although the colored sky is the warmest thing around. Then the darkness starts to come. It doesn’t creep so much as consume. You study one spot and it appears static, but then you jump to another and you realize that the reds and yellows are gone, replaced by a pervasive blueish-grey. It is even harder to ignore the cold now in the clarity of a winter’s dusk. You turn back to the west though, to enjoy the Technicolor purple, blue and orange that still streak the other view, and you let the view linger.
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