My parents used to sit on the porch of our cabin in the Colorado mountains and rate the sunsets. Reflecting back, I am hard pressed to imagine anything but the most sublime pinks and vibrant oranges with the waning sunlight filtering through the blue spruce branches. There was a lot of intense discussion about the possibility of a "10." I remember that my mother was the optimistic one, who wanted to bump the scores higher, while my father was more discerning (or perhaps just more nit-picky).
I'm watching a corner of sky change color out here in Oakland tonight. My wife is quick to point out what a nice effect scenic industrial haze has on twilight around here. Red sky at night, sailor's delight - red sky at dawn, I could just yawn. Or something like that. My son and his friend were just out on the porch admiring the deepening colors before the brushing of teeth. For a few minutes, the sky trumped both Legos and video games.
Wondrous thing, really, even when you imagine the physics of it. Long rays of light bending into shallower angles until they become flat night light. I can still crane my neck for a hint of orange right near the horizon. There was a time when the sun set for me behind the foothills of the Rocky Mountains - the setting tended to boost even the fours and fives into the upper quartile.
The same could probably be said of my favorite sunset on the Gulf of Mexico. Just about anything seen from the deck of the schooner Wolf would have to be an eight or nine. There was gold in that one.
But a ten? I don't know. I suppose I'm holding out, like my father, for the transcendent moment. The clouds outside my window have turned back to grey reminders of what was and the pink sodium lights have come on up and down my street. Good night.