Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Midweek reminder: Sunsets never fail to inspire
The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.” -John Berger from Ways of Seeing
I was walking on the beach a couple of evenings back, at the end of the day. When I first went out, with about 45 minutes of sunshine left, I was virtually alone; maybe three or four other people were out, wandering. As the sunset neared, people were drawn out of homes up and down the beach, many actually brought deck chairs and settled in, a few even got ready to start small bonfires to enjoy in the coming darkness, but all of them were facing the sun, watching it descend. By the time the sun lowered in the sky to touch the ocean, there were probably a few dozen spectators.
I sat on a dune and watched the people and the sun with equal fascination. If you didn't know any better, it might have appeared as if we didn't believe the sun would come up again, and this was a goodbye party. But also, it was stunning. Who could not watch something so beautiful, so rich, and so fleeting, even if it happens every night?
I can't count the number of times as I've driven home on an evening, I've been compelled to pull over and capture the sunset. I know the sun will set again tomorrow, and the day after that, and be just as--if not more so--beautiful. But something about the act of the sun slipping out of sight is, as the quote above implies, mysterious.
When was the last time you watched the sun set? How about a sunrise?