It’s easy to miss the sun setting in New Hampshire—it’s often hidden behind the woods, a mountain, or simply the curve in the road. Unless you are at the beach or positioned perfectly where you can see its full spectrum, sometimes, you only catch a brief glimpse and then it’s done.
I find the most sunsets when I am driving. But it’s hard to fully enjoy the setting sun at 75 mph. And I don’t usually bother stopping because I just want to get home, or because I’m afraid of being sideswiped by a passing truck as I’m tilting my phone at just the right angle.
Just the other night, I was blitzing by my second sunset of the week on a four-hour drive home from Maine. So when I caught the most amazing pink and orange filtering through the trees and casting long shadows on a marsh near our house, I decided to pull over.
I was in a rental car, so if my car did get hit on the shoulder-less back road, at least it wouldn’t affect my real wheels.
I had passed the perfect spot, so I had to drive in reverse about 30 yards, carefully making sure no one was coming around the corner. I pulled over as best I could, and SNAP, took a bunch of shots.
It was simply stunning.
As I walked back to the car, I thought, “Hope no one comes around that corner as I open the door!”
There wasn’t much clearance on the narrow road.
Just then, I saw a small SUV coming behind me. I quickly opened the car door and said out loud, “Watch out, buddy! I’m here!” as I jumped in.
As if the driver could hear me.
But they were going reasonably slowly, and arced around me with a wide berth. Phew.
And as the car drove away, I read the license plate. ALPINE+. It was my boyfriend D.’s car.
He probably didn’t even know it was me, because I was in a Blue Jetta, a rental car he hadn't even seen.
“Thanks, buddy D.,” I said, laughing out loud.
I sat there for another few minutes watching the sun slip behind the trees. I love those moments—when I am present in the now, truly seeing what is in front of me, feeling accomplished for my few days' work, happy to be heading home to a warm house where the lights will be on. A home where D. will be there.
And as famous filmmaker George Lucas said, “If the boy and girl walk off into the sunset hand-in-hand in the last scene, it adds 10 million to the box office.”
Okay, maybe we weren't quite hand-in-hand, but at least we were in the right vicinity.
“Sunset is my favorite color” is a quote by Mattie Stepanek, who published seven best-selling books of poetry before he died at age 13.