One of the joys of living in New York City is its spectacle. Broadway shows, the lights of Times Square, the variety of people, colors and style. It’s exhilarating. But there’s one display you don’t need to be in the city to catch.
Last week I returned to Cape Cod to bid goodbye to the end of summer and on Friday found myself at Mayflower Beach, ranked by Parents Magazine as one of the nation’s top 10 beaches. We arrived a half-hour before curtain just in time for a magic show. The sun was about six feet above the horizon. It was low tide with a quarter mile of extra flat beach. Holding shoes in one hand and a basket of snacks in the other, we walked through tidal pools in order to reach our friends at the shoreline. Kids splashed in the water and made sandcastles, delighting in the near-evening haze. We settled into our beach chairs, comfy in sweatshirts, and waited for the performance. Our tickets were pita chips.
Taking in the greatest show on earth (sorry Ringling Brothers) at precisely 7:14 pm, the exact moment the weather app on my smart phone predicted, the curtain went “up”. Or down. Gazing in amazement – even the kids stopped to watch – the pink and orange orb (if you can believe this) actually melted into the horizon. It was as if we were watching time pass, actually seeing it flow by like a lava lamp hourglass. After two minutes of a sustained amazing show, the top of the sun sunk from view. Gone.
But wait, the show wasn’t over. Intermission lasted only seconds. Act II was just beginning out of the eastern sky. We refilled our cups with pomegranate seltzer and spun our chairs around.
We watched a “blue moon” (a second full moon in the same month) float up before us like an enormous balloon which went from gauze-y to luminous to matte-yellow bright. Jaws dropped as we took in this rare, special moment, feeling the astral-sized show, lucky to have scored such great seats. Fittingly, it was the same day Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, was buried.
With fall “unofficially” beginning after Labor Day and our lives soon growing busier, it’s easy to miss a sunset when you’re trying to get dinner on the table or rushing home from work. But we can’t let these precious moments slip by without at least an appreciative glance. Best of all, with sunsets, if you miss one day, not to worry, it comes around again.