Gotta get to sleep somehow
Bangin' on the ceiling
Bangin' on the ceiling
Keep it down..."
-Foo Fighters, The Sky Is A Neighborhood
The sky caught fire.
"Beatrice, look," said the Mama, what I lovingly call my wife.
"Look at the sunset."
"I want to see!" shouted Bryce.
"Look, girls. Daddy, come look."
We all crowded in front of our living room window. Deep blue bled lavender and charcoal gray. A layer of rippled clouds fanned out above us from the northwest and burned softly like the embers of a dying fire. The orange and red flared and grew brighter as if stoked from above.
"If we go out on the porch we can see it better," said the Mama.
The view was better, but still somewhat obstructed by trees and buildings in front of us.
"Oooooo," said the girls.
"Gorgeous," I said.
"Let's go down to the water and see it," said the Mama. "There's time."
Bryce flailed on the couch. "No! I don't want to go anywhere!"
"Yes, let's go now before it's gone," I said. "Get your shoes on girls."
"Alexa, what time is the Santa Cruz sunset," the Mama asked our new Amazon gadget.
"The sunset in Santa Cruz today is 5:11 pm," Alexa replied. I looked at my watch -- it was 5:21 pm.
"C'mon, let's go," I said. "We have to do it know or we'll miss it."
We all had our sweatshirts and shoes on, and were ready by the front door, except Bryce.
"I don't want to go!"
"Fine, you can stay home by yourself," the Mama said, not serious of course. "We're going now."
"Whaaaaa!" Bryce fake whined and thrashed on the couch.
"Bryce, get your frickin' shoes on and let's go!" I insisted.
"Okay, okay! I'm coming!"
A few minutes later we were down by the ocean looking for a place to park. As was nearly most of Santa Cruz it seemed. Cars and people were everywhere. Street parking was full. The Natural Bridges State Beach 20-minute parking was full. I parked along the side of the road that led in and out of the state beach main parking, facing the exit. That way we could leave after watching the sunset for a few minutes. There wasn't time to drive all the way down to the main lot and park and walk onto the beach, the same one I workout on every week. We got out to watch the burning sky.
The time is always now again -- the now of every beat and breath and being completely in on each one, without distraction, no matter how unruly the universe gets. The next day there would be the kisses goodbye with my lovely wife and the hugs from my girls before I headed out to see my best friend for his birthday, each kiss and hug a time capsule to be repeatedly unearthed during my time away.
Then there would be the time spent with my best friend of 40 years. Two men in their 50's, one able-bodied and one paralyzed since our senior year in high school, looking backward and projecting forward, never afraid to be emotionally accessible to one another, or take each other out with relentless one-liners.
But that was yet to come; the sky caught fire again. It glowed white-hot where the sun had set into the sea beyond, it's periphery pink and red, scorched black underneath. I took picture after picture, and in between, let the now embrace me again, and again. Muted oh's and ah's filled the spaces between all of us watching this glorious sunset.
Now this is heaven, I thought. So bang and burn away.