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Tonight there was a glorious sunset. I followed it for a mile or so in my car. Craning my neck toward theGreen Mountains of Vermont as the sky turned orange and vermillion and cobalt and white ringed with coral and fuschia and fire. I kept stopping, quite dangerous on a curvy mountain road, so finally I pulled over and jumped out of my car. I crossed the small but well travelled mountain road without looking, drawn by the beacon of the sky. People walking their dogs couldn't take their eyes from the horizon. I walked to the edge, taking pictures. Knowing that nothing short of being there could ever capture the colors the sky was turning. After a recent trip to Menemsha on Martha's Vineyard where I was part of the crowds of people who both settled in to await and scurried in at the last moment to applaud the setting of the sun over the sea, I made a promise to myself to seek out more sunsets. To stop and take notice as often as possible. But the show that the sky put on tonight? I've never seen anything like it. It just went on and on, it was all climax. There was no slow build and a gasp at the end. No place to applaud. It was the pinnacle over and over again. People kept pulling over and hopping out of their cars and trucks. A town meeting broke up across the street because people had to get outside to be a part of this sunset. To bear witness. A man said, “That right there, that's gods work, right there.”
And I thought to myself, “No, it's Reuben.”
A woman who lived with this view everyday for years and years said, “Maybe, maybe one other time have I seen the sky do something this incredible. This beautiful.This amazing. Maybe once when the whole sky turned golden, but not like this.”
And I wanted to say, “ Today is the anniversary of the day that god decided not to write Reuben's name in the book of life again. Today is the anniversary of the day when he got cut from the team for good. Today is the anniversary of my son's death. This is a gift from him.”
But I didn't say it. And of course Reuben didn't make the sky light up. If there is a god, I do hope that this is the sort of thing god would spend his or her time doing, but I'm not really a believer. So, I don't know where the sunset came from. I don't know what atmospheric conditions conspired to get the sky to turn all those magnificient hues. But Reuben did it for me. I know that for sure. Just differently than one might think.
Because of Reuben's death, I turn my eyes toward beauty whenever I get the chance. More and more. Beauty and love. That is all there is that matters. Is Reuben directing me? Is he putting me in the way of grace and kindness? I choose to believe that he is. I want to believe that somehow on this day of mortal sadness, Reuben wanted me to remember how very beautiful life can be if I will just turn toward it. And so he helps me; he leads me to beauty; he puts it in my way so that I have to notice. The world, this life, all its splendor, all its agony. Always and always Both. And.