I watched the sun set tonight, a fireball rolling down slowly behind treetops, sentries standing watch over the grocery store parking lot as if to say, “Even though you are watching the sun set from an asphalt slab we will still obscure your vision.”

This, really, is the job of all nature. To obscure our sight of it so as not to allow for an unmediated glimpse. To hold space for mystery behind the last green leaves of late summer.

I watched the sun set tonight, and it was solid red and round like I’ve never seen it, a marker pressed hard into the paper sky as if by my exuberant toddler. I stood in awe. Stood with the door cocked open, stopped in my tracks. Stood while others slammed theirs shut and walked past, which is what you do in a grocery store parking lot. Stood while the sun rolled down like a volcanic boulder, through blinks and branches.

I had one of those 80’s board games when I was a little kid back in Miami, you know, one of those games that tried to be as vivid and stimulating as possible just before the onslaught of home video game systems. Fireball Run, maybe? I can’t remember the name. In any case, there was a red marble that would, somehow, chase your game piece through a series of obstacles on the board, and if it knocked you over, you lost, or started over, or something like that. It was like that game Mouse Trap. (Remember Mouse Trap??)

The fireball kept rolling down, and there I stood, but I might as well have been bowled over. Gobsmacked by wonder.

I haven’t cried since he died. Not one time. And that’s because something else died so long ago, and I had already grieved, already gone through the stages on repeat for a good half decade.

“Goodbye, Dad,” I said, as the marble rolled over my body, and the tears, though few, rolled down my cheek. I felt my pocket for my wallet. I slammed the car door shut.

ArticlesZach HoagCalling