It starts with a sickly green, like patches of discolored, rotting flesh, and softens through shades of bruise into cobalts and sapphires and the cruel blue of the sea after a storm. Then comes the ring of rust along the horizon, flames licking the stunted suburban skyline until the shadowed phantom clouds are reduced to ashen, shapeless forms hovering at inestimable distances. The frail boundary between night and day is breached, and the sun, frightening and awful like some indifferent god whose path across the sky is not of its own making, tears through the horizon, completing the ritual. It’s disconcerting to think that the most enduring symbol of power in the history of mankind is chained and bound and dragged every day, without fail, through our world as if to demonstrate the futility of believing any better fate awaits us. As the sun climbs the sky, I think of my eventual decline out of life, my energies bleeding out in piecemeal increments. We’ve developed a lexicon for this decline in an attempt to undermine our harrowing fear of the unknown, giving ourselves seventy years, two marriages, two children, two dozen jobs, a handful of friends, a lifetime of memories which leak from us even before death, leaving us at the end with only an erratic image of the world we entered and crossed through and are now to depart. This life will live on in greater detail within a credit report than in the minds of those we leave behind, those who will stand at our funeral and say they wish there had been more time with which to know us, and thus we pass like the day’s last shadows into twilight, into a darkness never again to be stained with greens or blues or rust, an enduring darkness whose history we are reminded of every nightfall. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust; out of darkness only to return to that terrible womb from which we were birthed. Not even our most eloquent language has ever truly captured the horror of those few moments in life when we remember this darkness and how little time there is left before we are enveloped again, reduced to what we were before, an unclaimed stretch of nothingness lining the abyss.