By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
It seems the Saharan dust is well and truly gone from our skies now. Thankfully! No more blinding white midday skies, no more haze choking lungs and blotting out the horizon. And, as if to cap off the end to that dusty mess, we even had a nice, if brief, rainstorm blow through the area to scrub the air clean again.
But even before the rain shower, there’s been a change in the air. You’ve probably noticed it, too. The sky seems brighter, more blue. And the sunsets lately have been pretty spectacular.
Every evening, low banks of clouds linger near the horizon, turning from white, to orange, to pink, and finally, to purple as the sun sinks towards the rim of the world. It’s like watching a living Impressionist painting — each cloud becomes the vibrant daub of oil paint applied generously to a canvas already alive with color.
Further up in the atmosphere, thinner, wispier clouds float like bits of cotton candy, undergoing a metamorphosis of color slightly different than their more earthbound counterparts. Just a few minutes after the sun has sunk completely, when the billowy cumulonimbus clouds near the horizon have turned the deepest shade of violet, these higher clouds capture the few remaining rays of daylight and glow dusky blue-grey against the cerulean of the new night.
It’s rather pretty. And it’s a sunset phenomenon that seems particularly common this time of year — when the days of summer begin to draw to a close and memories of autumn start filling our minds.
To me, it feels like a softening of summer.
At the height of the season, everything is too much. Like old rock musicians used to say, the volume is turned up to 11.
The sun is too bright, the heat too hot, the humidity so high you might as well as taken a dunk in a swimming pool. The days have a glare to them that makes you squint.
But at this time of year — on the cusp between summer and fall? More often than not the days are near perfection.
Yes, it’s still hot, but perhaps a little more bearable. The skies blush bluer. The sea breeze refreshes. The cicadas come out to sing their songs in the cool of dawn and dusk. And the sunsets, well, I’ve already talked about how pretty the sunsets are this time of year.
It’s a subtle change that happens as our planet continues its slow tilt towards winter, but it’s enough of a change to notice. The more pleasant weather has even been the topic of conversation more than once here at the PRESS and PARADE these last few days.
Soon, though, it will be well and truly autumn. The days will grow shorter still. We might get a cool front or two. And the hubbub of life — work, school and play — will work itself back into a busy pace.
For now, I’m going to savor the sweetness of these late summer sunsets.
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