AN HOUR before the sun begins to set, the sky is illuminated with shades of red, orange, and yellow. Photographers refer to this moment as the “golden hour” or “magic hour” because the golden colors in the sky create a beautiful backdrop. The light during the time between day and night transforms a mundane city into a dreamy landscape as the glow from the afternoon sun slowly disappears over the horizon.
The subway is full of people going back home after a long day of work. After passing a number of stations in the dark underground, the subway train heads up towards the ground floor. The moment it exits the tunnel, the bright afternoon sunlight pours in from the windows. Momentarily blinding the passengers, the soft orange glow gently kisses their cheeks. Our tired minds seem to embrace the warmth and take solace in the calmness of the gentle glow. As the train rattles across the bridge, we can see the sun drawing a shimmer across the river. The sunlight shatters into a million pieces against the currents and creates a sense of grandeur.
No matter where we look, skyscrapers and high-rises tower over us and block our view of the sky. The dense forest of tall buildings undergoes a splendid transformation as the sun starts to sink under the horizon. The flaming sunset shrouds the buildings creating a dark shadow and tranquil atmosphere. Sunlight permeates through the railings of the bridges along the Han River reflecting a golden splendor in the water. In that magic hour, the noisy and busy city becomes calm and alluring.
The sun emits a more gentle light as it continues to move towards the horizon. After exiting from the crowded train, we begin walking home with a strange sensation of being enveloped in sunlight. By slowing down our footsteps, we can bask in the luxurious feeling of leisurely soaking up the warm radiance with our whole body.
Unlike the short shadows observed in midday, shadows at sundown are lean and tall. The lengthy shadows dance among the busy footsteps hurrying to reach home. The sidewalk, flooded with glittering gold, comes alive with shifting silhouettes. A rusty bicycle rests on the side of the street, fully taking in the light of the afternoon and waiting for its owner to come.
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The day has been nothing special. It has been the same, long day at a same place, with tiresome chores repeating. Nonetheless, time passes and before we know it, we find ourselves heading back home. As a light layer of gold highlights the landscape, the normally mundane streets are transformed into romantic ones. Some are relieved that another weary day has passed while others drown in anxiety about the next day. With soothing colors from the sun, nature refreshes us from the monotony of our daily routines.