He was getting out of his truck when we arrived at the end of the road. His eager energy was felt from the inside of our truck. We almost made the decision not to come tonight. In no time, we heard “how lucky are we” and knew we’d chosen well.
The End Of The Road
The end of the road is where locals meet travelers. We all come hoping to see the best sunset but often leave having seen a new friend. It is true, Bird Creek Boat Ramp in Yankeetown, Florida is one of the best places to enjoy the uniqueness of every sunset. When we are in town, we make every effort to drive this road as often as possible…usually every night. The weather is rarely a factor. Just when we think it is too cloudy or too late, we are gifted with a sunset that somehow outshines the last.
On this night, we arrived at just about the same time as another. Like us, he was there with his cell phone hoping to capture a quick shot and move on down the road. The app told us sunset would be at 5:41 and we decided at 5:25 that we would hustle to see if we could catch the last few minutes of color. He must’ve had the same idea. We never exchanged names, but that didn’t hinder a quick bond. He was one to just talk to whoever would listen, and me being the one that often listens.
He Talked I Listened
“We are sprinkling Bob’s ashes out here on Sunday evening.” That is all he said. He must’ve assumed we knew Bob. We didn’t but that seemed irrelevant. The discussion of family ashes and requests was brief. It ended with him proclaiming that he would one day be scattered in this beautiful place. Followed by a loud “a long, long, time from now”. As the sun disappeared behind the horizon, I heard him quietly say “how lucky are we”. The sky was painted pink as a shelf of clouds closed in tight. He kept talking, and I kept listening.
Our worlds could not have been more different. He was from upstate New York close to Canada while I have southern roots that run deep and have never been far from home. He is twenty-five years my senior and has seen far more of this world than I. Tattoos adorned all the places I could see, and he shared a lifestyle to which I could not relate. Apart from the obvious, we are just different souls. Our differences had no relevance in the four minutes it took for the sun to sink. Just two unique walks of life watching the sunset while finding common ground.
Oh, How Lucky Are We
People and cars move from this meeting place as quickly as the sun sets. What they never see is that the best parts come once the main event settles. The credits begin to roll, and this is our time to just sit and reflect. The film continues, and the sky begins to unfold some of its most impressive clips. He and I laugh as we keep taking just one more picture. He asked me to take a picture of him with the beauty of this night behind him. I tell him the light will keep his face hidden. He quickly says, “take it any way they will know it is me”. He strikes his signature pose and I snap only one picture. He is ecstatic and so grateful. I did nothing unusual. He gave his usual. The results were far from expected, they were amazing. It captured God’s gift of color, both in the sky and in this stranger. He turned to see the color moving across the sky as he looked at me and said, “thank you, how lucky are we”.
The Real Surprise
The sunset is our common reason for coming to the end of the road. We arrive with ideas of what we will see but often leave with what was shared. A beautiful picture is almost guaranteed but connecting with a new soul that is quite different than our own is what makes this place extraordinary. What you leave with is the real surprise. On this night, it was the conversation of spreading ashes that ended with two people finding common ground in the sky. How lucky are we…