A group of apes on a cliff in Egypt watch the sunset. All of them in a posture of exquisite absorption. Remembering this picture while sitting with friends on a deck while the sun sank, I wondered whether watching every night would, if not tell me what the experience was for the apes, then tell me something of my own. I determined to watch and then to write the first sentence that came.
1. Hard to see through the trees. They move. The sun moves, my eye, my watching. The disappearance moves too. At what point can it truly be said to be set?
2. Excited to watch tonight! Read the paper for the exact time. Watched the clock intently, much more vividly than the sun.
3. Looked up to see the gleaming apricot contrail of an airplane and missed the moment of setting. Even though I can't say I know it; I say I missed it.
4. Tonight I wonder if the obscuring trees make the impression less? Then I wondered whether that thought diminished the whole? There should be two sunsets, one right after the other.
5. The actual moment, if there can be said to be one, I missed. Came in at the orange and wondered, can I say I saw something? Then, looking up, even that color was gone, and the clouds and fog were purple and gray and cold.
6. All the sounds, the freeway, birds, children seem to have a direction: forward. After the color is come to true gray, the sounds appear to be purely of the night - beginning with the neighbor's saucepan.
7. After, when it was again gray-blue, it was as empty as the red-orange had been full. I wonder if it will be the same sun tomorrow; how will that sun know itself?
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