Wednesday, September 4, 2013



Let me tell you about the sunset.
What can I tell you about the sunset?

I can tell you the sky was blue,
but blue is not enough.
Part of the sky was a gradient wash
of every word remembered or imagined
representing the different colors of blue:
Navy cerulean turquoise teal.
Somehow sky blue does not count
because I will never know all the different names
of all the different blues in the sky
in those precious moments
before everything was dark
on the beach.

I can tell you about the light.
What was earlier naked white light,
became robed in layers
of deep reds and Halloween oranges
and both bright and subdued yellows.
All of these colors have so many stories to tell.
Purple too.

I can tell you about green.
Lake Michigan washing waves to its shores,
an ebb and flow of liquid greens and blues.
Vast water allowing the sky above to open up.
Not a river snaking its way through the terrain.
Land bows to water here, for now.
A vast body of water can be a vast desert.
A vast body of water can be iced over by glacier.
This was neither here.

If there were a mountain, it would have obstructed the glowing yellow ball.
A subdued yellow ball I was raised not to stare at
because it could damage my eyesight
even when it is subdued,
seemingly harmless.
A mountain would explain what I am trying to explain through words:
crudely geometric panels with slowly shifting light and shadow
over a palette of sun and rock and water
accelerating with each passing moment.

Let me tell you about the sunset.
What can I tell you about the sunset?

There were four of us.
A co worker and a good friend,
his girlfriend, a pretty girl,
there friend, another pretty girl,
and me.
Lovers and bachelors are words
used in the time of cholera.

Jacob and I worked the first shift at the shop.
Both of us lethargically went about our day,
pretending, without much effort,
because I assume we were both mentally ground down
by our roles in human apathy atrophy entropy,
that we still cared.
We were not cued by rote memory
to respond to stimuli, both positive and negative.
Working added up to a whole lot of nothing.
We were both looking for something,
anything other than what we faced.

"I'm going to look this up" I said
with a Todd Rundgren album in my hand.
"I'll do that to stave off my brain
telling me to kill myself." I laughed.
He laughed.
"Jeez, that was dark." I said

"That's why I laughed" he said.
"Skateboarding saved my life."

"Yeah yeah."

Jake showed up after he finished class.
He was told by our boss he was working the second shift.
Jacob had prepared himself,
in the best way he could,
to endure a twelve hour shift
in a basement again.
Our boss, Bob, had not completely
thought this schedule transition through.

"Let's go to the dunes" I said.
"Okay" Jacob responded.

It was hot in Indiana on August 27th, 2013.
It was rare for it to be hot this summer.
Much of it resembled and ideal Indiana Autumn:
mild, bright, breezy, warm, and sometimes more than warm
when the sun was out. Warm sunlight.
Clouds cast and dissipate shadows to the ground.

This day was hot. Few clouds cast shadows.
The air could have been water.
Why not be in water?

Jacob asked me if I could think of any friends
who would want to accompany us.
"Not here" is what I said. "You're my only friend now."
A load of bullshit because I was feeling lonely.
He called his girlfriend, Savannah.
She called her friend, Haleh.
A free afternoon between four people
who needed to get the fuck away
from their reality thus far.

Before we thought about it anymore we hit the road.
As I sat staring out the window of the car this passage stuck in my mind:

"Past the flannel plains and the blacktop graphs and skylines of canted rust, and past the tobacco-brown river overhung with weeping trees and coins of sunlight through them on the water downriver, to the place beyond the windbreak, where untilled fields simmer shrilly in the a.m. heat: shattercane, lamb’s-quarter, cutgrass, sawbrier, nutgrass, jimsonweed, wild mint, dandelion, foxtail, muscatine, spinecabbage, goldenrod, creeping charlie, butter-print, nightshade, ragweed, wild oat, vetch, butcher grass, invaginate volunteer beans, all heads gently nodding in a morning breeze like a mother’s soft hand on your cheek.
An arrow of starlings fired from the windbreak’s thatch. The glitter of dew that stays where it is and steams all day. A sunflower, four more, one bowed, and horses in the distance standing rigid and still as toys. All nodding. Electric sounds of insects at their business. Ale-colored sunshine and pale sky and whorls of cirrus so high they cast no shadow. Insects all business all the time. Quartz and chert and schist and chondrite iron scabs in granite. Very old land. Look around you. The horizon trembling, shapeless. We are all of us brothers."

-David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

Thank you David. I'm sorry it killed you.

Let me tell you about the sunset.
What can I tell you about the sunset?

Other people on the beach tried to capture what they were seeing with their phones. My impulse was to do the same, but I resisted. It would not have captured it properly. I've tried. It's hard to try unless given time for meditation. I would have just made another flat surface of color when I truly seek aesthetic vastness within a geometric panel.

-this guy-

The sun sank below the curved horizon. Glowing cities and towns created a faint, but luminous gap between the dark earth and the dark sky. Looking to the east I saw the reflection of the sun mirrored in the clouds, still basking in the glow. Clouds high above Lake Michigan. Colorful and dynamic clouds, surrounded by gray fog. All the previous blues were now grey and black.
    The waves receded, but continued to splash against the malleable shore. Before bits of rock, not quite sand speckled the beige shore line. Beige. It has a story too. They were black and grey too.
    Everything but the clouds were gray and black. The eastern clouds reflected the western sun with stoic and fleeting austerity and then faded away too. Humanity does not matter when aesthetics play their role in a way I rarely see these days.

August twenty seventh, two thousand and thirteen, Michigan City, Indiana, on one of Americas Great Lakes. Words and pictures and sounds and smells and tastes do not matter at that moment unless one chooses to do something with them. Even if it is simply remember them and smile. These fleeting moments

I miss you
I love you
I'm sorry
I worry I do not know you
It is dark and I wish you were here.

Aaron C. Molden

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