A band of clear sky let late sun wash the valley, then flow up the mountainside to illuminate the ponderosas. The dull brown needles mixed among the green this time of year kindled to red gold, so bright that the forest seemed to be glowing from within for a few minutes. The sight was especially impressive seen against the tumbling gray mass of clouds which still filled most of the sky. I didn't even bother to watch the sunset itself until the light had entirely left the treetops. By then, the western horizon was no more than a bright line squeezed between dark earth and silver-edged clouds. The main event didn't compare with the side show.