I have a thing for sunsets.
Sunsets make me see things, and seeings things make me think, and thinking things make me remember my dreams burrowed deep in the heart and soul, permitting there to rest in the crevices of the future that is as fragile as the present. In sunsets, I see roads meandering to high places, to cliffs and beyond, to the edge of mountain fastnesses, to beginnings of new boundaries open to the seeker, the searcher, the one who does not cower in fear for the promise of the best days ahead.
Ha, sunsets, sunsets.
I count them here in Virginia: in Williamsburg, in Richmond.
I count them in Texas: in El Paso, in San Antonio, in Dallas.
I count them in New Mexico: in Deming, in the Columbus International Border; in Albuquerque.
I count them in Phoenix, in Blythe, in Memphis, in Knoxville.
I see it here now, in this beutiful river of life in Jamestown.
I watch the ceremony of the orange sun giving in to the forces of the young evening, the ceremony reflected by the placid waters.
Sunsets, sunsets, here in the River James in Jamestown, Virginia or elsewhere: they all make me wonder; they all make me wander.
The wondering is more of a rubric of faith in the universe as immense as the thoughts that come in a rush.
The wandering is more of a rite reserved for exiles, whether voluntary or forced by circumnstances. But, isn't it that we are all forced by circumstances, that all our thoughts and actions and dreams are by-products of life's circumstances? Beats me.
I see the sun setting now in this old settlement hedged by forests of pines and other primeval witnesses from the wild abandoned by men and beasts; in the afterglow, I sense the pristine faith the settlers came with, on this same river, blessed by the same sun setting now. This is the river with the sun setting in 1607, the Virginia with the same sun setting of 1607.
This is the same river now, the same river that makes it possible for the past to present itself to the present, this huge river of dark green and blue waters that come from the sierras, from the snow-capped mountains, from the benedictions of the night and day coming in full circle in a ceasless way.
The river, with the sun rising and setting, go to that eternal ritual of allowing itself to be dredged into the vast sea where there, the waters from all the other rivers and rivulets and brooks one with each other, become indistinguishable, salt and freshness becoming both salty and fresh.
I sit down to watch the sun letting go of its last bright lights.
I watch the sun letting go of its luminosity or its claims to one.
I watch the sun fade into the dark, into that dark dark night.
I watch the sun hide in the horizon only to appear again in that new rite of birthing, its glow vomiting light, pure light.
I think of religion in this sense, the religion of the senses, the religion of communing with the universe, the religion of seeing what am I in the cosmos as huge as my dream of making it in this exile's land, the way the settlers did in their anchoring on this river of sunsets and sunrises.
I say a prayer to the river, to the sun, to the forest, to the coming night, to the hoped-for dawn.
In this river with the Virginia sun setting, in this Jamestown of seekers of truth, beauty, light, faith, I pray.
And I pray hard.
A. S. Agcaoili
James River, Jamestown, VA
June 30, 2006, 8:00 PM