Green Flash by Al McDermid

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.


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8 responses to “Green Flash by Al McDermid

  1. guy

    Not that your piece is like it exactly — it’s more of a contrast — but i can’t help but think of this:

    (better video)

    (w/English subtitles.)

    Never saw it myself. From Sagami Bay, the sun sets somewere between Fuji and the mountains of Izu and around here there’s too much on the horizon.

    • Ah, so this is the film with Nathalie Baye, ‘Le Rayon Vert’? I saw that here in Adelaide, at the Trak Cinema on Greenhill Road, when it first came out yeeears ago it now seems, and have always, always remembered that film when I see I sunset. The green at the end – le rayon vert – is quite amazing. From the film I remember Nathalie Baye and the sea and the sunset and the flash of green: I wonder if the film is memorable for other reasons?

      • guy

        It’s funny, but i remember this scene best of all. The guy with the beard and the Nathalie Baye hearing it all from the steps are what stuck in my head. (I saw it once in Tokyo probably in 1987 or so.)

  2. It gave me the Northern Lights, that sometimes 0nce in a lifetime moment.

  3. I don’t know what the green way, but I bet it was magical. :)

  4. Never seen the green flash but have seen aurora borealis. Now I have to watch the movie. Great story. Peace…

  5. Pingback: Week #42 – Under wraps | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  6. Thanks all for your comments (and exposure to a film I haven’t seen). I now more than ever want to see the aurora borealis.

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