by Dina Arevalo, Editor
Earlier this week I had a late afternoon meeting on South Padre Island. As the meeting began to draw to a close, I couldn’t help but notice the increasingly golden tones of sunlight that pierced through the cracks in the blinds at the back of the room. The sky had been topped with heaping fluffy clouds earlier in the day which did much to accent the azure behind them, but little to stave off the heat which continues to linger this autumn.
I was hopeful that the day’s clouds would stick around long enough for a colorful sunset, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the grandest looking cumulous clouds are tamed first into wisps and then into nothingness as the warmth from day ebbs with the lowering sun. This wasn’t to be one of those days, though.
As soon as the meeting was over, I stepped outside to see what those golden rays were all about. The clouds still hung near the horizon, and sure enough, their shape was evolving - becoming long flat ribbons as the sun sunk in the sky — but they weren’t going away. High up in the atmosphere, willowy contrails from passing jetliners crisscrossed each other, providing sharp geometric contrasts to the softer organic shapes of the regular clouds. This was going to be one of those sunsets Texas is famous for.
I decided to try to find a spot to take photographs, but I knew time was short. I thought maybe I’d try for the flats or the outdoor viewing area behind the Convention Centre. I started to head that way and was only partway there when I realized I wouldn’t make it in time. I decided to stop at one of the bayside street ends instead. Unfortunately, the end of the road I chose was occupied by someone with a less-than-sunny disposition. Encountering that person at the tail end of a day which had been filled with minor annoyances was disappointing and a bit defeating, so I returned to my car with thoughts of calling it a day and just going home.
But as I continued down Laguna Boulevard, the sun’s golden light continued to beckon. I decided to take another chance at another street end. As I pulled up close, I saw a bicycle propped up against one of the large planters at the end of the road, along with the tiniest little dog, who I would later learn was named Ginger. Sitting behind the planter with his feet dipped in the water was a man staring out at the sunset himself. I asked him if I could join him and he was gracious enough to say yes.
He and Ginger regularly make time to enjoy the Island’s spectacular sunsets, he said. We ended up talking for about 20 minutes as the glowing clouds shifted from shades of orange molten lava to bright fuchsias and magentas, and finally to dusky purples and deep blues. We watched flocks of gulls scuttle low across the water and a barge trudging slowly along. We talked about our favorite spots to watch the sunset, and we sat in silence while we took in the mute spectacle. It was peaceful and serene. With the light continuing to fade, I reached out for a handshake, belatedly introducing myself in the process. The man, Chuck, amiably returned the gesture. Bad day saved. Thanks, Chuck!