Yesterday was summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and I spent the majority of it on a plane. Strangely enough, I mostly enjoyed the experience because on my flight home we were going backwards in time, and so I witnessed what appeared to me as the most expansive sunset in my life. It lasted about three and a half hours and covered the territory from Dallas, Texas to San Francisco, California. I saw the sun set over Monument Valley, where the plateaus cast immense shadows about 5 or 6 times their size. I saw the sun set over part of the Grand Canyon, where the magic hour further reddened the color of the packed soil and the light glistened on the waterways that snaked through the earth. I saw the sun set over the Sierra Nevada mountain range, where snow still capped the peaks. I saw the sun set over Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, where I tried to make out possible rock climbers (didn't see any), and also Yosemite Falls, which fell into the shadows at that hour. I saw the sun set over I-5, and counted my blessings that I don't have to live in LA anymore. And finally I saw the sun set over the San Francisco Bay, with a reflection of light from the plane onto the water below and onto the funky colors of the salt fields in San Jose. I wondered, after all of my travels of the last month, having my first impression of certain European cities from the air, what it would be like for someone to fly over San Francisco for the first time. What would their first impressions be? I would only hope that they are as much in awe of my ville natale as I am, even after all these years of living here. Each time I return, I am glad to call San Francisco my home.
By the time I retrieved my luggage and waited curbside for the Airporter to take me home, night had fallen, and the long day, and this long journey, was over.