sunset

The cabin’s name is Pine. I’m sitting on the porch, feet on the steps, feeling the cooling evening air and listening to the rumble of the occasional cars and motorcycles driving up and down Jumonville Road, the sounds of children’s voices in the distance, and the crickets and birds chirping in the woods. The air is fresh and clean-smelling, and moving slowly with the smallest bit of a chill in it. To my left, the sky is a rich shade of blue, and to my right, I can see for miles off of the mountain. The horizon line is all but obscured by the thick humidity, but where the earth embraces the sky through the green trees, almost black in the dusk, near where the sun is setting, I can see the large hills in the miles of Southwestern Pennsylvanian landscape. The ground is a dark shade of blue, and the sky above is a color I can’t describe that’s a gorgeous mix of blue and gray and reddish at the top. Almost purple-gray, but a very dark purple. Above that, the whispy clouds reflect purple and orange, and glow pink and white, giving way to a blue that is nearly white that fades to another blue above my head that is darker.

The street lights are coming on, one by one. I hear David Orr inside of Pine, playing a soft and breezy song on his guitar, a song I don’t recognize, but like. Now David’s singing mixes with the children’s voices, the crickets’ and birds’ song, the glorious but unassuming sunset that has now changed to a shade of orange-pink, and all join together in a sweet and mellow song of praise to their creator. And I am happy. Not excited-happy, but happy in a deeper way. Contented, perhaps, would be a better word.

The scent of a wood fire drifts across my nose as my fingers tap the keyboard of my netbook. A loud siren announces a fire somewhere in Uniontown. Inside, Mike Nuss is wondering where I’m at.

“Out here,” I yell.

“He’s outside,” Craig tells him. Mike stands beside me on the small concrete porch and admires the sunset.

“Yeah. I’ve been trying to capture it with words,” I say. Mike looks for a little longer, then goes back inside. I hear Craig suggest that our Taco Bell run should happen soon because the dining room there closes at ten. The back screen door of Pine bangs itself shut. I think Mike went out. And David Orr starts playing “How Great is Our God.”

The sunset’s shades are slipping. It’s now blue, dark pink, light pink, and white-blue. Craig comes out and comments on it. “I like the sky. Cool layers of… white and blue.” Then he goes back inside.

The door opens and closes again, and I feel an elbow on my head. David Orr says that as God’s beautiful, unrepeatable miracle, I also make a great elbow rest, then asks when my free minutes start. “Seven,” I tell him, and pull out my phone. Craig comes back out and sits on the pavement in front of me, staring down the hill and crunching on a lollipop, while David starts talking on the phone.

Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight… The first star just appeared over the treeline, and the lights of Uniontown are starting to twinkle off to the right. Mike joins us outside. “Finish your story, Dave Schell,” Mike says. I hit the save button and we head off to Taco Bell.

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