I stood on the beach, staring out at the flat sea, thinking this was how Magellan first saw it. The movement of the water lapping at my feet was almost imperceptible.
A band of gray clouds hung over the sea, but the horizon was a straight line. As the sun broke through the clouds, angelic shafts of light cast a blinding slick upon the sea. The clouds then thickened, pushing the perfect red yoke of a sun toward the now burning sea.
“Hey,” I heard Josie yell from behind me, “c’mon, or you’ll miss it.” I turned to see her heading up the beach, to the iron stairs bolted to the nearly sheer cliff.
“Miss what?” I yelled back, but she didn’t respond, so I ran to catch up. I reached the top to find her sitting in the grass at the edge of the cliff. I sat next to her and asked again, “What am I missing?”
“Shhh,” she said, smiling, “watch.”
So I watched. The clouds and the sea had turned lavender, separated by a strip of yellow ochre. The ragged clouds higher up were bright splotches of bittersweet lavender and pink—higher still, the slightest sliver of a moon.
Then, as the last light of the drowning sun ranged the spectrum and ducked beyond the waves I saw it, the green flash.
We didn’t speak, and then, as the night and stars enveloped us, I finally took her hand.