Guest Columnist Doug Hanky
A few days ago, I shared a bucket list item of mine with some friends at dinner. This summer, I will go to the beach and watch a sunrise, take some pictures, drink some coffee, and then have a leisurely breakfast and more coffee! After breakfast, I will climb on the motorcycle and cruise the back roads up to the mountains. I may stop at some little antique shops and yard sales along the way. I will find a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and eat a late lunch on the way to my final destination, the highest mountain peak, with the best view around, to watch that very same sun disappear from sight, snapping pictures the whole time. Kind of lame as bucket lists go, I know but it’s my list.
One of the pleasures of motorcycle riding is the unobscured view of everything and everywhere you travel. Couple that with the fact that almost any road anywhere becomes a place to pull off and pick berries, smell the honeysuckle, and, yes, take pictures. Tuesday was just such a day.
As I rode home from the West End the sunset was extraordinarily beautiful. Armed with only my cell phone camera, I knew I would surely be able to snap a couple shots at a stoplight. In five miles on Broad Street, I only stopped once. Unfortunately I was at the bottom of a hill, with no view. So I hurried onto the interstate looking for a clear shot. I got the brilliant idea that sitting on top of 288 at the Broad Street I-64 interchange would be the perfect location to document this beautiful creation. The brilliant fiery reds mixed, and the deep blues nestled in the cloud formations were just breathtaking. In the four minutes it took me to get to the spot, it was all gone. I was so mad! It really gave me a clear understanding of what photographers mean when they say they are “losing the light!”
As I continued my journey home heading south to God’s country, I came face to face with another “time’s up” moment. As I was going northbound on 288, the sky was lit up this time by the flickering red and blue lights of six or seven police and fire units. They were working what appeared to be a pretty significant accident scene. The accident team was working, which usually indicates a fatality. I was immediately hit with a rush of emotion, linking the beauty of the sunset and the horror of what likely had just taken place at the accident. The unstoppable passing of time means the fleeting experience we call life is over in the blink of an eye. So pay attention and cherish your life, your surroundings and others.