Between 2004 and 2009, Helen stood patiently on her third-floor condo balcony and waited for the fleeting color to appear near the end of each day.
Her inanimate accomplice was one of those disposal Kodak cameras from Walgreens. It soothed her shutterbug sensibility.
Nature photography was the perfect hobby for a woman in her eighties, who loved art and the clockwork of the calendar and the seasons.
Earlier in her life, she worked too hard to find the time to anticipate and ponder the legacy of sparkling sunsets.
But, as the remaining rays in my mother’s life flickered on the northeastern Illinois horizon, she found comfort in the hues that came and went.
Like a National Geographic photographer on assignment, she felt it was her duty to capture the most vivid color of each passing day.
Whenever Tom and I walk west after dinner toward the Papago Park buttes, I feel Helen’s anticipation … how she might have felt if she’d seen the Sonoran sunsets of our sixties.
During the last few years of her life she asked, “Do you think you and Tom will retire in Arizona?”
It gave her comfort to know we might fall in love with the western sky.
After the heavy lifting of our responsibilities was through, she could imagine our stunning sunsets … the colors, lights and textures.
She could dream of the golden hour after she was gone.