Thursday, August 7, 2008

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, August 8, 2008

I envy people who can just look at a sunset.
I wonder how you can shoot it. There is nothing
more grotesque to me than a vacation.

- Dustin Hoffman, actor, born on this day, 1937

Now, there is a great actor, but a sick puppy! At least he has the grace to realize it, to envy sensible, well-adjusted people. No sense of balance whatsoever, so he certainly could never make a good Episcopalian!!

Have you ever seen the “green flash”? I have. Once. I was in a terrific place on the Yucatan - having a glorious, “grotesque” vacation. (Oh Dustin - sad, sad, sad.) Mayans cooking, often things cooked in the ground. A big, palm-covered dining area where we all gathered for dinner. A lapping, blue-green sea beside which one’s large tent was pitched, with a hammock outside between the palms, a tent whose gas light was lit for you while dinner was being served and chocolates left on the pillows above the turned-down covers. All for about $50 a day.

One night, at dinner, the sun set in a clear, warm tropical evening. I had heard of the “green flash”, and asked my dinner companions if they had seen it. “Nope”, they all said. “Let’s watch”, I said. The grooper, grilled in fresh lime, waited a bit as we gazed at the huge yellow-orange ball slowly approaching the horizon. I watched unblinking. And just as the last tip of the sun sank into the sea - there it was! The “green flash”! I’ve looked for it again many times as I have shamelessly indulged in many sunsets on many “grotesque” vacations. I look forward to many more attempts!

Dustin is right to be envious. It is a sick soul that believes (and probably wrote!) the perverted Biblical Creation story that implies we have to work all the time as punishment for our “sin”. First, St. Benedict was right when he said that Work is essentially Prayer. And secondly, Work is essentially so that we can enjoy and enhance the beauty of Creation - as much balanced as possible!!

I look forward to watching many more sunsets, looking for that “green flash”. And I’ll keep the camera in my pocket. Sunsets aren’t meant to be captured. They’re an eternal tease.


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