Sunset Boulevard

Las Vegas at dusk, courtesy of Airship Solutions: http://www.airship.com.au/news/LasVegas.html

Although I often complain about how hot and dry my desert is, and how much I’ve always wanted to live somewhere green and

Las Vegas sunset, courtesy of Flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hallublin/4232636644/

 rainy, there is one thing that I truly love about living here: sunsets in the Spring.

There’s something about the atmosphere here.  I don’t know if it’s related to the wide landscape, or to the jagged layers of mountains to our west.  Maybe it’s all the air pollution.  Whatever causes it, we have the most colorful, evocative, pristine sunsets I can imagine.  For some reason, they’re especially brilliant this time of year: a hundred hues of the palette bleed in and out of each other from the rocky horizon out across the sky far back into the darkening east. 

I think it would be great to find a scenic spot on the east side of town (maybe around the temple?) and take a picture of the sunset from that same spot, every day for a year.  The range of effects would be impressive over that span of time, the surprising array of variations on the same simple background would be sublime.  It would make a fantastic book. 

Even better than the sunsets themselves is the longer dusk: that magic hour after the sun sets until it starts getting really dark.  It’s already fairly warm by this time of year, and the moment the sun retires, everything instantly gets much cooler.  You can almost feel steam rising off the world.  Two years ago, I went camping out in the desert and had to sit with my back to the sun to get any kind of relief.  I knew without even facing west that the sun had gone down because the pressure on my back was suddenly ten degrees lighter.  I turned around for the physical confirmation: the glowing, liquid gold outline along the top of the mountain ranges; sharp, bold streaks of grade-school art sunlight shooting through the few clouds that squatted near the edge of the sky. 

That dusk hour in the Spring is truly a heaven, a pleasant oasis of perfect proportion: the temperature is like floating in clear, cool bathwater, the light still visible enough to be day, but subdued as if a silk shade had been drawn over the blaring, garish sun.  For about sixty minutes between the fierce heat of day and the dark nothingness of night, we float in a peaceful dreamland of celestial comfort. 

In my heaven, the weather would be like that all the time.

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