photo credit westcoastwoman ©

“Everyday a new picture is painted and framed, held up for half an hour, in such lights as the Great Artist chooses, and then withdrawn, and the curtain falls. And then the sun goes down, and long the afterglow gives light.”

Henry David Thoreau


Every night they come, the watchers of the sun-set, drawn down by the need to see the light extinguish behind the islands and the sea.

I want to share with them as they slowly rise and disperse that the setting of the sun is only a prelude to the experience they had been called to witness, but I stay silent.

It is this time between the setting sun and rising moon, this short extension of the day, this in-between-time when my heart and mind settle for just a moment.

I watch as the sky paints itself with each night’s original palette, wanting only to share with those who can look out from the same place and feel the colours as they appear, understand the need for silence.

In these moments when I am neither here nor there, anything is possible, magic is afoot and I am caught in the afterglow of another original creation as it slowly fades from sight.

The darkness takes the light, the starlings swoop once more in perfect unison over the water, I share with all who stand watching… being neither here nor there, a silent good night.

westcoastwoman 2019 ©

Written in response to GirlieontheEdge’s  Six Sentence Story Word Prompt
Prompt word : Extension 



41 thoughts on “Afterglow

  1. WOW. This one got me. You captured the truth behind that time of day/night — the transition in such a beautiful way. This is also a perfect poem to read in the morning! A reminder that no matter how busy and crazy the day gets… peace will come. Even if just for a moment.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this sentiment. The afterglow is the most beautiful and you expressed it so well, Janet. Thank you. I love that you help me see the world in different ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really Beautiful!! Praise for your intimate flowing prose. You evoke the silence of the afterglow through your words. Thoreau would approve. That silent transition without—the gaps between day and night, night and day—are also found within us as the transitional gaps between waking and dreaming, dreaming and sleeping, sleeping and dreaming, dreaming and waking. It is the 4th, a deep silent unbounded unchanging backdrop to and in between the changing curtains of the 3, whenever they take place. It is our own transcendental silent self. We sometimes slip into it during those transitions. We can also experience it while effortlessly transcending during Transcendental Meditation. We come out refreshed with an inner glow, our own afterglow. Time to meditate.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for graciously posting my comment. I thought afterwards that I may have been a bit too pedantic.

        I’ve reread and enjoyed “Afterglow” several times now and it really is good! Classic! A great blog post!

        On a technical point, I noticed since this was a six-sentence response—and a beautiful one at that—is the 2nd part of the 5th sentence meant to have it’s own line? Or is there an accidental “carriage-return” there creating a line-break, which should be removed? Shouldn’t it all be together, with only a single space between “afoot,” and “I am caught…” instead of a different line?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I didn’t mean for the break to be there…… but I am not very technical and when I tried to correct it nothing was working so I left it. Just went back in and deleted the comma after afoot and it seemed to fix it.
          Thanks for pointing it out as it forced me to give it ‘one more try’

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Glad you were able to fix that. I noticed the comma disappeared too. But if it won’t accept it, that’s fine.
            I tried to Reblog it, but it wouldn’t reprint the whole poem, so I will repost it and link to your post of it.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. yes, I sort of liked the way it made sunset feel awkward, that the ‘watchers’ were seeing it in a very set way, sort of compartmentalized like the way many people see and approach things that I approach in a very different way. Not saying right or wrong… gardening for example I love my garden wild and free more English Garden, not pruned to within an inch of it’s life or shaped in balls or ‘controlled’ in whatever way some gardeners see as ‘tidy’. Seems to me that is part of problem we are having on the planet right now, there is no ‘controlling’ Mother Nature’. the sunset doesn’t end with the setting sun and a garden can’t be controlled with pruning shears as John O’Donahue says “we are all wildly and dangerously free”

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a beautiful, peaceful painting with your words! I could shut my eyes and still see it, still feel the magic time in between. It is lovely like that where I live too, in the flat plains of West Texas with a huge canopy of sky.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Josie. I have spent time in Louisiana and Texas and seen the beautiful sunsets there.
    Each location giving a different vantage point and place to be grateful as another day fades to night.


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