It’s literally impossible to describe a moment of ecstasy and being swept up into that “at one with the universe” feeling that I experienced yesterday near sunset on the Trinity River. It’s impossible because it has to be experienced. That said, here’s part of what I experienced, set down in words.
There’s a phenomenon
that occurs when the sun sets
into the ocean, as you gaze west,
from the level of the water’s surface.
It happens in an instant.
For just a second, the light is refracted
and the orange glow of the sun turns green,
thus the name it’s been given:
the green flash.
Yesterday I took an outlandishly long walk
from my house to the sturdy wooden benches
set on limestone slabs where a channelized creek
flows into the Trinity River.
By the time I arrived,
the sun was moving toward the horizon.
A great blue heron and a great egret
fished the waters below me in the river.
Barn swallows swept past me from the far bank of the creek,
off to one side of the point of the triangle of land high above the river
where I sat in the shade of a hackberry,
its branches on either side me, providing cool shade
and moving gently side to side.
I was swept up into a pattern of blessedness,
subsumed into the breeze, the birdsong,
the sight of starlings playing in the river below
and mallards and blue-winged teal dabbling nearby,
when the number of birds in flight nearby seemed to double
and a pair of mallards swept by me,
flying right past the point, just above eye level.
As they did the bright green of the two breeding-plumaged males’ heads
flashed, for only a moment to bright metallic purple,
a slight difference in the refraction patterns of the light:
the purple flash.