Justifiably, Arizona sunsets are renowned for their spectacular beauty. Never have they failed to leave me breathless and eager for an encore. I have watched diners stop mid-meal, friends cease to speak mid-conversation and evening strollers halt mid-step to gaze mesmerized at the glowing panorama. Each evening's brilliant colour storm is quite simply awe- inspiring and like snowflakes, no two shows are the same. Meteorologists claim that the intensely clear, dry desert air crystallizes and saturates the vibrant magentas, corals and ambers. Wispy clouds floating by high in the atmosphere apparently act to reflect and amplify the changing colours of each burning sunset.
For me, a glass of wine, caressing desert breezes and a comfortable perch by the pool offer the best way to enjoy this magic Arizona kaleidoscope. Nightly, I take my seat and instantly become lost in the powerful beauty of this evening spectacle. Like a finger painter's rosy smudge on the horizon, sunset first exposes her blushing beauty. Wasting no time in revealing the true drama of her personality, she quickly alters her palette to one of smouldering reds, yellows and oranges, setting the horizon ablaze. The once turquoise swimming pool turns into liquid fire. I wonder if when the surface is touched it will shatter into shards of shimmering glass. As if needing to admire her own appearance in a mirror, sunset casts her hues on the casa windows, reflecting her own grandeur. Now a pulsating, flaming orb, the sun begins its graceful descent beyond the horizon until all that remains are lava-like glowing embers. Light dusky purples and deep blues link day and night until night's black curtain, studded with millions of shimmering stars, descends in a hushed silence broken only by the occasional lonely howl of a coyote. Giant saguaros, now dark imposing spectres set against the moonlight and blue black ink of the sky cast strong shadows, majestically standing as our nighttime sentinels.
The show over for another night, I am once again reminded that I am but a speck in this incomprehensibly vast and beautiful desert.