California

Reverse Sunset

The sun had already set when my plane took off in Philadelphia. A gold-grey haze that made the clouds look like peeling varnish on a mirror that is reflecting candle flame. But as we flew north and very slightly east, a glowing red began to bubble over the dark clouds. We were flying not into the sunset but curving over the edge of the earth so that the sun had less of it to hide behind and so it appeared that we were reversing the sunset, peeling back the day. It was a strange transformation. The sky went from freshly oxygenated blood to perfectly ripe guava to still-too-hard avocado (that light yellow with just a tinge of green). A small reversal in time.

Many philosophers say that time was an illusion. That we tell ourselves that this moment leads to the next to the next; and because we describe it so well, it then becomes our true experience. But sometimes we slip out of that narrative. Have a moment when the next moment was actually the moment before or maybe five moments ahead.

The sun still set because the earth turns despite our perception of time. As the plane descended into the clouds, for a moment they were embroidered in scarlet.

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