Sunset Slows Me Down

Sunset of a New Jersey vineyard

Sunset of a New Jersey vineyard

I just sat on my front porch and watched the sun set. I’ll be honest. I never really understood the joy of watching the sun actually set. You can’t look directly at it because it is a bit blinding (bad for the eyes I would think) and it goes so slowly (when compared to, say, a high-speed internet connection).

Even a few weeks ago after a wonderful day in Tivoli, Italy, a fellow traveler exclaimed, “look at that sunset! Come quick! There are probably only two minutes left.” I was in awe that he actually had a time of expiration ready to inspire a sense of urgency.

As is my usual response, I said, “wow, beautiful.” I mean, isn’t that what you do? Look at the sunset casting a canvas of color across the sky, say wow, then move on?

As my husband and I snapped a few photographs, our fellow traveler said he was going to wait there long enough to watch it set. So we did, too. From a small city on a hilltop, we watched the sun sink lower and lower behind another hilltop a valley away, until only a glow proved that it had been there in the first place.

A little over a week later, I stood with my husband at a vineyard in New Jersey, celebrating our wedding with a small group of family and friends. While speaking to some of our guests, I was struck by how beautiful the sky looked as the sun prepared to set over the vineyard. I asked our photographer (and friend of ours) if she would mind taking a picture. The result is shown alongside this post.

This evening while reading on my front porch (an activity I haven’t done enough this summer), I once again became distracted by the sunset. In those last few moments of light, I became acutely aware of my surroundings. My neighborhood exuded peacefulness, with everyone having already returned indoors to prepare for the week ahead. The clear sky turned salmon. The grass looked particularly green. A gentle hum from insects and the melodic notes of a lone bird provided the soundtrack while the sun dipped slowly behind the trees.

As another day draws to a close, I am calm and ready to see what tomorrow holds.



  1. John Lloyd said,

    Monday, August 18, 2008 at 7:47 am

    I’m with you about acknowledging the sunset and moving on to something else. But, of course, I have sometimes submitted to the lure of watching the sunset over the ocean in hopes of seeing “le reyon vert.” And, there is the movie by that name, too.

  2. Sherri said,

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Even now, more than a month since my original post, I don’t acknowledge the sunset regularly. Only at moments does it capture my attention. I try to be more conscious of those moments, however, and settle in the experience.

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