Chasing sunsets

In the middle of our recent heat wave, I was restless beyond words.

As the day slipped away, the night air offered little relief. The house was swollen, the floors were damp and the fans whirred the most complacent white noise.

I almost wished we had air conditioning. Almost.

But there is a gift in the stillness of the heat. It’s too hot to do all the stuff that needs doing. Mother Nature is telling you to be still. Stuff can wait.

I was feeling melancholy. I needed a car ride.

My teenagers were so tired of the house that they asked to come along. Of course, they brought their electronic devices. Whatever. It was too hot to argue.

We were all tired of the heat, and a little tired of each other. Silence works.

I put the car windows down, slid the sunroof open and off we went; no destination, just the lure of the night breeze, cool on our skin. It was a welcome relief.

The sky before us was a landscape of magenta with deep violet stretches of cloud, as the giant pink ball of sun melted down. It’s like the sky was kissing a perfect Saturday good night.

I knew what we needed to do: chase the sunset.

It’s funny how a song can take you back in time. The right song came on the radio and with it a flood of memories of three summers ago, and as the kids slipped the earphones from their ears, happy to hear the familiar tune, I wondered if the movie of summers past running through their heads looked anything like the memories in mine.

I turned up the volume. We started singing. As if choreographed, each one of us extended an arm out our window, making imaginary waves to cut through the wind. That never gets old.

The next song jacked up the beat, while my co-pilots and I got in the groove together. There was so much good energy in the car – unspoken though, because words would break the spell.

As the sun slipped down, the sky was a pastel expanse of orange, making the trees and barns on the back roads look black against it.

We yelled out “moos” to the cows, watched for bats and sang our hearts out as we drove down dirt roads into the colours of the night, until the navy blue curtain rolled in and the diamond stars shone. These moments are so rare. Amazing.

Turning the car around, we headed home as another song came on, and with it, another memory. The teenagers got quiet, leaning their heads out with the window, wind in their hair, quietly watching their town go by.

It struck me how much I love that they are old enough to be so deep in thought, so aware of their own selves, figuring out the world. They fascinate me. I am as much in awe of them as I am in awe of that sunset.

I looked in the mirror and they each met my eyes, but said nothing. I knew then that my kids understood how special this moment was too. It was unspoken, but I knew they felt it too.

We had just chased a sunset.



Kelly Waterhouse