Postcards from Acadia Series
A cool, early September evening finds me in Bar Harbor, Maine. I come to a little park looking out at a pier and position myself on one of the benches thoughtfully provided, no doubt for specific sunset watching purposes. In front of me, there lies Frenchman Bay: glassy still water; little Porcupine islands, covered with thousands of quill-like trees; almost invisible weightless clouds in the pale sky; and boats, tens of boats sitting on top of their perfect inverted reflections. They are all white with the exception of Tiger Shark. She is red, striking, like a lone flame surrounded by pieces of white paper ready to fly into her glow. I am grateful there is not a slightest breeze to disturb the peace of water.
The evening light is changing, bathing every island, cloud, and boat in tenderness and softness. I start taking pictures. Hungrily, thoughtlessly. There is no strategy or purpose to my picture taking; I just can’t stay away from the camera. Somehow, I know that the right shot will include Tiger Shark.
I rush along the path, scared to miss out. What if a better view and a better picture is waiting just around the corner? Judging by the frantic activity around me, many of my fellow sunset admirers are struggling with the same predicament. And after each turn of the path, I discover more glassy water, more peaceful sky, a different perspective to look at the boats – no better or worse than what I am leaving behind. I keep taking pictures and running.
Finally, I have the good sense to go back to the little park and settle down. I discover two cannons (a reminder of the Spanish American war of 1898) and sit on one of them figuring I couldn’t do too much damage to it. And finally, I stay still and focus on the bay and the sky and the redness of Tiger Shark.
As soon as I stop this greedy seeking of a perfect shot, it comes to me, easily, effortlessly. And as soon as my soul is in synch with the peacefulness of the water and the sky and the air around me – I feel tears coming. Because the evening, the sunset, the boats – all of this magnificent, eternal beauty is there for me to experience. I don’t deserve it – and yet, it is given to me.
… The light is now gone. Oh how sad I am to get off my cannon and to disconnect from the peaceful images that were feeding my soul for the last hour. Slowly, I start walking up the street. How many times do I get to watch a sunset in my everyday life? Why is it that when I am not traveling, I somehow don’t find things like watching a sunset important enough to find a place for them in my day? Somehow, right now it seems that watching the sunset is one of the most important things I can do for my soul.
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