“I’ll let you in on a secret
about how one should pray the sunset prayer.
It’s a juicy bit of praying,
like strolling on grass,
nobody’s chasing you, nobody hurries you.
You walk toward your Creator
with gifts in pure, empty hands.
The words are golden
their meaning is transparent,
it’s as though you’re saying them
for the first time.
If you don’t catch on
that you should feel a little elevated,
you’re not praying the sunset prayer.
The tune is sheer simplicity,
you’re just lending a helping hand
to the sinking day.
It’s a heavy responsibility.
You take a created day
and you slip it
into the archive of life,
where all our lived-out days are lying together.
The day is departing with a quiet kiss.
It lies open at your feet
while you stand saying the blessings.
You can’t create anything yourself, but you
can lead the day to its end and see
clearly the smile of its going down.
See how whole it all is,
not diminished for a second,
how you age with the days
that keep dawning,
how you bring your lived-out day
as a gift to eternity.” — “Praying the Sunset Prayer” by Jacob Glatstein (tr. Ruth Whitman)
On the last day of February, I snowshoed a trail that’s so wet most of the year, it’s really only passable in snow. There’s been an attempt to install boardwalks so it’s usable when there isn’t snow on the ground, but they quickly become flooded, rotted, or they float away. When the snow is deep enough, these things don’t matter.
This walk took place from about 4:15 until 5:15 p.m., and it encompassed (as I’ve written about previously) the golden hour at that time of year here: sunset was 5:35, civil dusk occurred at 6:04, and the golden hour spanned about 5-6 p.m. I think it may have begun on the early side on this particular day.
The high temp for the day was 27F, the low 2F.
Fallen snowman, or a minor henge, 4:37 p.m.
Something golden happening here, 4:40.
Sun trying to pierce the woods, 4:45.
More glowing, 4:50.
Standout red-twig dogwoods, 4:58.
Trees lit by an internal light, 5 p.m.
Featured image: house obscured but seen
This is one in a series of posts revisiting field trips taken from January to June 2019, as described here.