Number 10: Sunsets
“Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.”
When I was a little girl, I always enjoyed looking at my mother’s photo albums. My mom was a talented photographer, so it was fun to see her pictures of me as a younger child or to recognize places we had been on family vacations. But one time I came across a beautiful photo of the sunset, and I simply could not figure out where my mom had taken it.
“Did you take this when you were in Hawaii?” I remember asking. When I was 8, my parents took a trip to Maui without me and my brother.
“No,” she replied. Then she explained that she had taken the photo during a trip to the Florida Keys several years before I was born.
Oh, how mysterious that sounded to my young ears! How strange it felt to ponder the beauty of a place I’d never been, in a time before I was born. How humbling it was to see proof that the sun rose and set for long before I had eyes to behold such beauty.
As we were planning our trip to the Keys, my mom’s beautiful sunset picture was in the forefront of my mind, even though it has been many years since I’ve actually seen it. I had my heart set on taking my very own sunset picture while in the Keys.
On my first attempt, the sun was sinking fast as we drove to the far west side of Marathon. We found an open spot in the parking lot of a soon-to-reopen restaurant. It had a great view, but the splendor of that night’s sunset slipped past too quickly. It was mostly dark when I shot this one.
On my second attempt, we were driving from Key West back to our beachhouse in Marathon. We took a back road through an area with several mangrove trees. The sunset was pretty, but I had been hoping for some clouds and more water. Was I being too picky? I mean, who I am to tell God how to make the sunset look better?
My last attempt was Thursday night, when we drove out to Bahia Honda State Park and took a short walk through the mangroves and strolled onto the old railroad bridge.
The bridge was high, so the palm trees on the beach below looked misplaced. But the sky! It was a glorious combination of clouds and light over the vast ocean.
Michael and the girls waltzed off into the sunset.
And I took about a million pictures.
For a brief moment, the sun peeked through the clouds just enough to cast a dazzling ray on the fishing boat. This one’s my favorite.
When I met up with the rest of the family, Linnea pointed to the sky and said, “Look, Mommy! Take a picture of that!”
See the tiny island on the left? She was enamoured with it.
One thing I will always remember about the Keys is how vast both the ocean and the sky are when you are on a narrow island. So big. So blue. So endless.
“This Bridge” by Shel Silverstein
This bridge will only take you halfway there
To those mysterious lands you long to see:
Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fairs
And moonlit woods where unicorns run free.
So come and walk awhile with me and share
The twisting trails and wondrous worlds I’ve known.
But this bridge will only take you halfway there-
That last few steps you’ll have to take alone.
Thanks for allowing me to share our Florida memories with you! My hope is that it has helped you mentally escape to a mysterious land you long to see!
What’s next? Chocolate cupcakes: short and sweet.
Florida Keys Top 10 Series