Prairie sunset

FROM MY SECOND FLOOR OFFICE on the back of my home in St. Paul I can see most of the sun’s trajectory from shortly after sunrise until the last glow in the west that I can see as I am writing here at 5:54 p.m. on a winter’s day. The green sky yields to shades of tan and red and slowly the shadows beneath the horizon rise up to claim my Sunday afternoon. I have started writing this post forgetting that my most recent contribution had to do with the movements of the sun and the earth as well. But that earlier described sunset was in September. We are at this moment at the height of a Minnesota winter. In this quiet time I have more appreciation for the sunsets. I can see them better because I can see through the trees that crowd around my perch, the view likened to that enjoyed from a very sophisticated tree house.

Here in the city the golden light from an alley streetlight introduces itself as a new focal point. The sky fades in response to an invisible cue from an invisible stage manager. But no drama issues forth. The bell on the Lutheran Church behind me a long block tolls the dinner hour. The green sky turns a deep blue and the tan a dull red on its way to brown and darkness.

There is nothing like a winter sunset. The cold forces open the sky and allows us to see crystal clear. The city has temporarily lowered its usual lumber and din. No sound of jet planes approaching the airport southwest of here. A muffled, tentative, automobile passes below but it is not followed by another. The night falls but leaves a trace of the day that has passed us. Done with us and now on to Montana, California and Hawaii.

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