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Discovering Sunsets in Celia's Garden

Jane Finley

January 26th, 2003

One Friday, the Desert Singles held their weekly potluck at the City Park. It's a huge park, but there's not much there except a couple of large, covered picnic tables. I had heard about Celia's Rainbow Garden, and after lunch Doris suggested we go there. Doris loved the garden and went there often. She told me the garden created by volunteers in memory of a local girl who died at age eight. Like most volunteer projects, the garden started small but has grown into a very large area. There are paths throughout the garden and a longer walking trail around it with exercise equipment. People have adopted small pieces of land within the garden to develop and care for. The garden is dedicated to Celia's memory, but there are plots dedicated to others within the garden. It is truly amazing and certainly the highlight of my visit to Quartzsite. The variety, creativity, and beauty of the plots astounded me, and the obvious love that went into caring for the individual plots touched my heart. In the days that followed, I went there several times on my own.

One evening, I drove to Celia's Garden about 5:30 p.m. In Quartzsite, you can often find me walking at sunset. I found the long path around the garden's perimeter. I noticed the exercise stations along the way, but I'd already worked out that day and would be going dancing that night; so I didn't do them. I was the only one on the path, and I enjoyed the solitude. The sunset was just beginning. As I walked along the path, I was again reminded of how much I love Quartzsite. I breathed in the clean air, observed the changing shadows on the surrounding mountains, reveled in the sweep of open desert, and looked forward to the oncoming sunset.

When I finished the trail around 6:00 p.m., I sat at one of the picnic tables and waited for the universe to do its sunset thing. The mountains to the east, opposite the setting sun, were glowing, but the shadows were quickly creeping up the sides. They were pinkish tan on top and dark brown near the bottom. Straight ahead, the sky was a mixture of baby blues and pinks under a grayer layer which spanned the entire sky. The setting sun could no longer be seen, but there was no doubt where it had been because of the brilliant neon orange glow in the west.

Now, I have always loved and appreciated sunsets. They more often than not, leave me speechless and in awe of their beauty -- always changing, always different, no two ever the same. I usually time my daily walk about sunset time. Tonight in Quartzsite, I felt I discovered sunsets for the first time. Before coming to Quartzsite this year, and actually before tonight, I had always thought the sunset was just in one place -- where the sun set -- but in Quartzsite tonight, in Celia's Garden, I realized that REAL sunsets cover all four directions and the entire sky. Celia's garden is a truly awesome place, and I will always remember it as the place that I really discovered sunsets.


I'm trying to remember the spectacular sunset, so hard to capture its beauty in words: flourescent orange interspersed with baby blue topped by a row of small, wispy, gray clouds like waterfalls, and higher up a layer of narrow, gray clouds with the brightest magenta lining I've ever seen. As I watched, the magenta got more and more intense -- just streaks of vibrant color like someone had taken a paintbrush across the sky. As the night progressed, the colors faded until only the faintest dusky melon hue remained on the horizon.....from my Journal July 6, 2002, Port Angeles, Washington