The Dark Sky Park

By Carlie Barnett

The cycle of our sun usually comes across as a routine thing; it rises, moves through the sky, and sets, but that night was anything but ordinary. Orange, red, yellow, purple, and pink all mix together to create one magnificent glow. Water from Lake Michigan splashes against my bare toes as I stare out over the waves to what looks to be the edge of the world. The clean scent of fresh water arrives on a cool summer breeze, making it the most amazing moment. The sun hovers in the sky, producing light and warmth to all of the onlookers. Uneven waves glitter, reflecting all of the bright and happy colors of the slow sunset.

Strawberries burst in my mouth as I enjoy a light snack, watching the sun continue to descend. They crunch slightly, gently coated with sand that the wind blows around, lifting the weightless grains up off of the ground and throwing them at everyone watching. Flavor shoots out of the fresh berries just as the colors shoot across the expanse of heaven. A place like this can sometimes be slightly overwhelming, the water and sky reaching out as far as you can see in almost every direction. The sky looks like a canvas with multiple shades of lively paint streaming back and forth, up and down, small threads of happiness being the perfect touch.

Large, bumpy rocks rest on the shore under my feet unlike the soft sand farther back. My brother and I tried to find Petoskey stones but couldn’t find a single one. I was a bit disappointed but the setting sun erased all stress of the hunt, making it nothing but a fun little game. I might not have found our state’s rock but I got some other neat stones from the water. I would have to go through them the next day because at the moment I was distracted by the beauty of the light swirling through the air. Bright colors from the sky reflect off of the smooth, wave-worn rocks.

My phone’s camera attempts to capture the beauty, but no photograph I have can compare to the real thing. The Creator who painted this sunset also made our eyes and we should use those to capture this moment, not some piece of tech made in China. Manmade lenses will never be able to grasp the true colors or feelings of our special events.

“How beautiful,” I say, smiling and staring at the spectacular sight.

As the sun kisses the horizon the light sparkles off of the water, lighting up not only Lake Michigan but also the sky, I had been waiting for this moment and it was finally here. Waves crash onto the shore in front of me, making a soft noise. The temperature may be dropping but my anticipation is still on the rise. I go to sit down and rest on our blanket we laid out in the sand, watching this magical sunset with the rest of my family. I smile, captured by the wonder of the light and colors. Wind whips around my blond hair as the sun struggles to keep from falling beyond the waves.

The sunset lasted forever, our bright star refusing to surrender to the night. The air continues to be filled with laughter and overlapping voices having conversations of all kinds. Darkness wishes to have the moon take command but the sun still lights up the horizon, looking as if it will never give up. Eventually, the sun must give in to let us see the stars and allow them a time to shine. I stare where the water meets the sky, afraid I’ll miss the moment the light finally vanishes from sight.

Final rays of light shoot off from the sun, shimmering on the water one last time before it’s gone for the night. The sun seems to sigh as it completes a long day’s work, resting up for tomorrow. Finishing with a blazing display of light and color, the sunset may be gone but the memory will last forever.




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