By Beth Winze
Last weekend a few friends and I decided that we wanted to journey twenty minutes down the road to connect with the Blue Ridge Parkway and watch the sunset at the top. As we were driving we noticed the sun sinking lower and lower in the sky and we felt our hopes waning with the last rays of sun. We had timed it all wrong and there was no way we could make it through the winding height of the mountains to catch the view we so desperately wanted to see. But we tenaciously pursued the sun until we found ourselves sitting at the top staring at the sun which was surprisingly still suspended high enough in the air for another thirty minutes of light. We walked around together, taking pictures waiting for the sun to kiss the top of the distant mountains. Finally, the long awaited minutes came and we watched as the sky faded from blue to pink to orange to a star covered twilight as the sun gave up it’s last rays of light. We had caught that moment perfectly and the pictures we took will never truly describe all that laid out before us. We were standing at the top of nature’s throne room gazing at the entire kingdom of mountains stretched out before us…
I was taken by bitter nostalgia today as I realize just how much closer my move out day is. It seems like just yesterday I was moving into the small cinderblock room that I would find myself calling “home” for eight months. It also seemed nearly impossible at that time that this room would become such a memory filled space like it is today. But the time that once seemed interminably long is a mere sixteen days into my future, and now it’s moving way too fast. My friends and I have been chasing this sunset, hoping for the right minute to watch as the sun sinks on our first year of college. Feeling as if the timing is all wrong and it will never work. Yet it’s here, those long awaited thirty minutes spent taking pictures and hanging out while we wait for the sun to kiss the mountains in the distant. And just like that, I felt as I did on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s sinking way too fast. The more I clutch to it, the faster it slips out of my grasp.
Some of these friends are not returning next year because their lives are taking a different path. It hurts to think of not watching the sunset next year with those same people. As I am stuck here watching the last waning rays of our sun sink behind mountains. The time we waited so long and impatiently for is here. I want to be sad. I want to be frustrated that I did not cherish more minutes while the sun was high in the sky, but it is pointless. Because each new day brings a new sunset, some more brilliant then the previous. And life carries on that way. One sunset to the next. With the hope of another sunset less then twenty-four hours away. So as the sun burns low, I will get out my camera and pay more attention to those in the silhouette of the present sunset, but look forward to the next sunset just over those mountains.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – Terry Pratchett