shadows of the evening


“The sun was a gigantic circle of intense bright light as I walked on Old Plantersville Road tonight and the colors in the sky surrounding it took my breath away. They were all that – and then some. No camera this evening. Just me and the sunset. It’s as close as I ever come to a spiritual moment and not surprising that the words of a hymn I sang over and over during my Southern Baptist days played in my head while I walked:

‘Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh.

Shadows of the evening steal across the sky.

Jesus, give the weary calm and sweet repose,

With thy tenderest blessing may mine eyelids close.’

—–Sabine Baring-Gould, published 1865

A few raindrops fell on me as I turned toward home from the railroad track  which is my usual turnaround spot. I didn’t even care. The colors changed quickly in the sky as the sun went down behind the trees across the pasture. I slowed my pace to catch as many of them as I could, and the rain stopped for me so I wouldn’t have to hurry.

The day was over, and shadows of the evening stole across the sky right in front of me. Jesus, give the weary calm and sweet repose. My Random House Dictionary defines repose as, among other things, a dignified calmness…composure. Yes, give the weary a sweet repose. Let all who work hard and all who are tired of fighting the same battles or any whose pain leaves them exhausted – give them a sweet repose at the end of this day.

And may our eyelids close.”

——–The Short Side of Time

When I wrote these words in September, 2013, there was no way I could have known that in December, 2018 a special train would roll over those railroad tracks that were my turnaround point in my  Old Plantersville Road walks in Montgomery County, Texas. The special train was carrying the remains of President George H.W. Bush, the 41st. president of the United States, to his final resting place at the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.

I’ve watched most of the coverage of his death, two funerals, countless images of the Bush family and friends during the past six days. I was reminded of how true patriotism finds a way to express itself in the lives of selfless leaders who may be ambitious but never blind to the responsibilities of public service. In a day of tweeting presidents, I needed that reminder.

Now on this night the special train will come to a stop, and the body of our 41st. president will be laid to rest in a place 22 miles from where I was born in Navasota, Texas. His family and friends will say a final farewell for now. My prayer for them is that they will find a calm and sweet repose at the end of this day.

Stay tuned.

 

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is an essayist with humorist tendencies who periodically indulges her desires to write outside her genre by trying to write fiction and poetry. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, will be available in December, 2018. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike and Charly. Her Texas roots are never far from her thoughts.
This entry was posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to shadows of the evening

  1. Patricia says:

    Beautiful words and great reminder needed by many.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Luanne says:

    I love your experienced with the sunset. It’s so lovely, so spiritual, and so fleeting, Sheila.
    Don’t read further if you don’t want me to rain on your parade or railroad tracks. You might be surprised by what I write since I am kind of sentimental about family and animals and friends and all ;). It’s fascinating to me to read what you and others have written about the Bush funeral. I am such a cynic about politicians and politics. I only wish politicians were statesmen and stateswomen or whatever you would call people who sacrifice for the country, state, city, etc. But ICK. And for these dynasties of politicians, double ick. I haven’t watched one moment of the funeral scene although I accidentally saw the Dole getting out of wheelchair moment. Just the media wringing every last unearned tear out of us IMO. Sigh. OK, fight back . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Luanne…thanks so much for your kind words about my “sunset” experience…
      And please don’t mistake my feelings about the funeral for any political statements. I for sure haven’t forgotten Willie Horton or any politics associated with 41 or most especially for 43. I will never forgive 43 for the Middle East wars, trust me.
      I guess what I felt during the last week was a sense of gratitude for not being either angry or humiliated as I do every day with the current crop of politicians in Washington. But here I go again…don’t get me started. I just appreciate the conduct of the family and the apparent genuine love they feel for each other and for our country. That was like a tonic for my soul actually – politics aside.
      And the train was particularly moving today for me as it rolled right over my Texas roots.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nan R. Smith says:

    Beautifully expressed, Sheila! Thank you!

    We are going to College Station in September for Auburn/A&M game….I am actually more excited about visiting the Bush library than the game! And I may have to sneak over to your home place and take a peak!

    Have a peaceful day! Nan

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. War Eagle, Nan – let me be the first to tell you that you will LOVE A&M, my old Alabama to your Auburn in my college days…T fell in love with the stadium when we drove by for a peek after we visited the Bush Library with my mother.
    It was the last time my mom took any kind of trip with us. Funny story: we had a flat on our rental car driving over to College Station from Rosenberg, had to call AAA and then opted to keep going rather than turn back with my mother in the back seat praying as she always did when T was driving. O God, please help us to arrive safely. Seriously. Every time we got in the car.
    We thought she would enjoy visiting a Presidential Library but was in there for about 10 minutes and when I couldn’t find her, I went back out where she sat watching the fountain.
    Mom, I cried to her, why did you leave?
    Well, there wasn’t much to see, she replied.
    I will let you be the judge of that for yourself, Nan. But by all means, go.
    P.S. Thank you, as always, for your kind words of encouragement about my writing. I really appreciate them.

    Like

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