Have you ever tried to photograph a sunset only to find that the still image doesn’t near capture the essence of the moment as it is lived? In the recent year, I almost given up the notion of photographing a sunset. Instead, I savor the westward drive home. As the sun dips nearer to the horizon, exhilarating hues streak the sky and kiss the trees like Parrish’s brushwork. This time of year, almost every evening holds promise of a new and different painted scene. September sun pours o’er trees like honey, and bathes the spirit in light.

As I approach another autumn, it brings with it more personal milestones. I look back over the year, winter to spring and spring to summer; and I feel lifetimes have been lived over and over again. In mere days, the calendar will turn over for me, another year has been carved into my life, and yet I’m still trying to find the words to encapsulate the seasons of this one.

I’ve measured this summer in heartache, mounds of brushwork, field sketches, written word, profound validating experiences and a number of monumental other things. At summer’s end I look back in retrospect and attempt to transcribe all that I have lived, and all that I’ve felt. I circle ’round and ’round and each time my whole being seems to stutter, when I attempt ┬áto illustrate these significant changes of life’s ebb and flow.

The planets shift, the tides of time align and caught amid this perpetual force am I.

Senses of abandonment, redemption, love, loss, encouragement, empowerment, a search to offer forgiveness, the quest for clarity and then renewal, a spiritual and personal renaissance. All of these have been decisive forces unearthing new realms wanting of discovery. My thirst for more seemed never gone, but now even more, it is reborn. With unanswered questions, I moved on, unknowing if I’d ever understand or regain what I felt I lost. A temporary distance paused a downhill emotional plunge. Determined not to stop, I pressed on. By day and night, I’ve climbed, not looking down or back. Journeying onward I’ve carved new facets into the stone that once seemed void. I’ve found new ways to reaffirm who I am, and through it all, the calling and the cause has remained steadfast, acute and sublime.

Photographs are wonderful sentimental things, and all that I’ve taken, I adore. But in life’s most profound moments, photographs aren’t needed to record sentiments upon our hearts. As I navigate the seasons, I will treasure each memory until it becomes a word.

My quest to make sense of all of this continues as I embrace the currents of time. I press on savoring each sunset as I bid it farewell and affectionately greet the next sunrise.

—Art is Life Expressed— Sarah West