“If I don’t pull over, I’m going to end up in the ditch , ” I thought to myself. The sunset in the distance was so captivating that focusing on the road was difficult. Being on a budget, I couldn’t afford a luxurious day at the spa. Finances called for a more practical way to unwind. With no particular destination in mind, I set off. A sunset drive ought to take away the mental fog.
Parking alongside the road atop the hill I just conquered, I got out of the car. The cool evening air made me shiver. Or was it the awe-inspiring beauty I saw before me? The deep pinks and oranges swept across the horizon. There were just enough clouds to filter the colors all through the evening sky.
I’m not sure how many minutes passed as I stood there. The world seemed to have stopped. Not a vehicle passed by, not a sound could be heard from the nearby farm. Every now and then, a crow’s call rang out somewhere in the distance. The fading light cast black shadows in the massive forests on the hills to my left. The valley beneath me was still bathed in the light.
“If only I had my camera…” Then, I could show the world what they’re missing. It came as a surprise to learn that such a breathtaking place was not featured in any guidebooks. It seemed that even the local people didn’t even appreciate the divine artistry in their backyards.
Slowly, the pinks and the oranges faded to soft lavender. Standing there, I realized that I had traveled these roads for some twenty years and had never once given the area a second thought until now. It’s sad how the locals have become complacent. It’s rare to see anyone seeking out the sunset. I don’t see what the point is of sitting on the porch staring into the neighbor’s living room. That’s no way to relax. Why not drive for a few minutes to Cornhill, a place that feels like that illusive “somewhere else” we all seek from time to time? Sitting just West of Petitcodiac, Cornhill is filled with beauty that can only be found in postcards. But, by the notable absence, few realized what they were missing.
The purples turned a cool blue. A thin line of light still hovered over the horizon. But it wasn’t enough to keep the stars from shining. Only the biggest and brightest could be seen at first. (I later discovered that the star closest to the horizon was actually Venus). Slowly, the less brilliant stars emerged into the darkness. At last, the sky was an exquisite black cape flecked with diamonds. The quarter moon hung just to the right of Venus. The horizon still held a faint hint of icy blue.
Having forgotten to wear a sweater, the coolness in the air roused me from my trance. As I started the car, the clock read some forty-five minutes later than it did when I had first arrived. As I made the short drive back to Petitcodiac, I laughed at the thought of throngs of people chatting as they gathered to watch the Cornhill sunset. Why on earth would I want to jeopardize my place of solace by commercializing it? Some of the best places are best kept secret. After all, those forty-five minutes on top of that hill did more for me that a whole day at the spa ever could.