Magic Hour

Magic Hour is the term for the first and last hour of sunlight in any given day.  Everything is washed in golden light and there is an ethereal quality to the atmosphere.  The orange and blue transitions to darkness as your eyes move from one side of the sky to the other.  It’s a great time to take pictures.  It’s also a time where I feel like anything is possible.

I’ve had a really good couple of weeks.  I have moments, of course, but overall September has been the best month I’ve had in nearly a year.  It feels very much like a sunrise; the cold and dark stillness of grief and loss is giving way to the warmth and brightness of life.  I smile.  I laugh.  I don’t feel like I’m running on reserves anymore.  The river is flowing again and it’s a very welcome feeling.

This afternoon, I went to lunch (so to speak) and drove the mile and a half to Taco Bueno.  It was about 7:15 PM and right at the tail end of Magic Hour; the sun had disappeared behind the westernmost buildings and I was left with the diffuse glow.  I got my food and pulled into a parking space to eat.  I was eating my quesadilla when I suddenly wondered how many times Dad sat in the same car, doing the same thing.  I know he ate out a lot, and would often eat in his car at the local Sonic.  I could imagine him sitting there, eating his food.  Radio on, probably, listening to one of the same 5 CDs he always had in his changer the last year of his life.  Nobody to talk to.  Just sitting there, going through a routine.

I didn’t get sad.  I actually took comfort in the simplistic symmetry of the situation.  As I contemplated this, a minivan pulled up beside me.  A small child hopped out with his mother.  He looked over at the car and said, “Wow, what a cool Mustang!”  The mother agreed that, yes, it was indeed a cool Mustang, and followed that up by confirming that the boy wanted two burritos and a taco as they walked inside.  When I heard the kid exclaim his approval, I turned my head, met his eyes, and smiled.  He smiled back.  I have to believe that when Dad found himself sitting in his car, eating by himself, that he had the same run-ins.  It’s Magic Hour, after all.  He was so proud of that car.

I miss him.  A whole hell of a lot.  I feel that his legacy is able to live on in his boys.  Every time I make a bad joke, every time I gun the accelerator in his car, every time Steppenwolf plays on the stereo.  Every time I call Tyler and ask how his car’s running without thinking about it.  Every time I’m hanging out with my brother, we look at each other, and say, “Well…I don’t know.” and smile knowingly.  So many little things.  So many big things.  He’ll never be completely gone, and that makes me smile.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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