I went looking for the sunset.

Here in the village, the sun disappears behind the trees hours before it gets dark. This is a valley, the Delaware.

I climb in my car and go looking, out of this valley into the next. On the ridge between the valleys, I find the sun shining on the busy highway, its slanting light on the malls and chain restaurants, on the silvery glass of the banks and pharmaceuticals. I cannot settle for this, not me. I'm a sunset snob. I want something clean, uncluttered and elemental.

If I cannot have an ocean, I will settle for a distant horizon, but where can I find one? I go north, then west towards the sun, but that takes me down into the next valley, the Brandywine.

Then I remember a trail that climbs a hill. I park at the bottom and on foot climb to the top, only to find the view blocked by trees to the west. So I go into the trees, searching. What I find is only a glimpse of the sun as it sets; not what I seek.

I find something else instead, two deer moving through the trees. They stop still at the sight of me, frozen, and I freeze as well. Their eyes are unsure, hesitant, suspicious, questioning. My eyes strain to see them better in the dusk. Then they bounce off in perfect unison, leaping through the trees, strong and at home, their white tails high in the air, springing.

This is not what I sought, this twilight ballet in the trees, performed for an audience of one. It is not what I sought, but it is a gift all the same.

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