Beauty Seen Is Never Lost

Last year near sundown the day after Christmas I witnessed an incredible sunset. This morning something I wrote about that stunning spectacle just hours after witnessing it was discovered.  Through one good photograph taken with my phone while driving and the four paragraphs below, he beautiful memory is fully awake within this morning. 

It is late afternoon and near the end of a 750 miles road trip.  My friend and I are heading to visit my son in Boulder and are about 50 miles outside Denver, Colorado.  The mountains are due west directly in front of us.
 
Near the horizon in front and on both sides of my car, a spectacular display of wind shaped clouds is underway.  Strips of shredded yellow torn from clouds fill the sky almost to the horizon.  Above, the depth of the reds is so striking it appears surreal. The light of the ending day strongly accents the long furrows in the clouds enriching the reds and yellows as the clouds evolve and change in the wind. 
 
The wind is strong and the clouds are changing quickly.  To the south, long thin strips of red have been blown and tangled together.  A large oblong cloud without noticeable texture lies just above.  To the north there is less light from the fading sun and darkness is reaching there first. 
 
Within only a few minutes the sun has become a large half-circle directly in front view.  The big red ball is fast disappearing; turning the sky a deeper and deeper burgundy as the sun’s departure nears completion.

Sunsets happen every day and probably because they are so common people hardly notice the beauty of them most of the time.  On-line I found a short piece written by Kimbaline Navas of Ft.Collins, Colorado. The feeling she writes about of a sundown over water describes near perfectly how the memory of my late December sunset touches me. 

I close my eyes and I can vision my sunset laid across the water with clouds gently placed on top. 

The yellow is so bright that it consumes my thoughts I fall deeper into the colors of the sun so that I could touch the orange glow; what a soft feeling; my sunset.

My sunset takes me to another place and time where there will be no problem too tall to overcome. This vision is imbedded in my mind; it is like a river running free; a clear thought on a sunny day and it ends with my sunset and me.

My sunset frees my thoughts from confusion; it leads me to believe that I am on top of the world; setting me free to scourer over the waters of my mind.

My sunset places me in a part of heaven where the day comes to an end with the beauty of my sunset.

From John Greenleaf Whittier’s 1876 poem “Sunset On The Bearcamp”:
…beauty seen is never lost,
God’s colors all are fast;
The glory of this sunset heaven
Into my soul has passed,
A sense of gladness unconfined
To mortal date or clime;
As the soul liveth, it shall live
Beyond the years of time.

…I shall see a summer sun
Still setting broad and low;
The mountain slopes shall blush and bloom,
The golden water flow.
A lover’s claim is mine on all
I see to have and hold,–
The rose-light of perpetual hills,
And sunsets never cold!

Whittier expresses a gratitude that I find to be a near match for the thankfulness felt for the sunsets I remember, especially my cherished Colorado sundown of a few months ago. 

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
Places to play in and pray in,
Where nature may heal
And give strength to body and soul.
John Muir