Friday, January 1, 2010

First Sunset of the New Year

It was an Avatar sunset -- like suddenly being transported in 3D into a different world. And it took up the whole sky. First there were the swirling cloud formations seemingly placed on a shelf above the horizon and then there was the actual sunset flooding the Los Angeles skyline with shades of red ranging from just barely to the deepest imaginable purple. Buildings seemed transformed into magical shapes and the mountains jutted into the heavens to disappear into those spectacular cloud swirls.
Of course, we get it that sunsets in large part result from the sun's position and the path light travels through the atmosphere and the impact pollution and dust and dirt have on that light and the height and composition of clouds -- but come on. Give me a break. Sunsets are powerful and magical. End of story. And this first sunset of the new year promised days of power and magic for us all.
When she was critically ill and near death, my mother's doctors asked me what I wanted them to do should she experience another catastrophic cardiac crisis. Meaning, of course, what measures did I want them to take to prolong her life. I talked this over with my brother and then I talked it over with my mother's neurologist. Dr. Blicker asked me to tell her what survival would mean to my mother. I replied that if she could recognize the faces of her three grandchildren and appreciate a beautiful sunset she would think her life worth living.
Had she survived that next cardiac crisis and lived to see this sunset, my mother would have smiled and said that, yes, this is what living is all about.
That, of course, and the faces of her three grandchildren.
So, Mama, this one was for you.

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