It’s a rhetorical question. I don’t have any answers for you.
I do know that humanity has had a fascination with the sun for eons and I believe it goes well beyond the bare fact that without it we all perish. It is also clearly documented that in the regions of our planet that receive the least annual sunshine there are myriad of depressive disorders and associated ills. In fact there is even a village hewn into a darkened valley in Norway called Rjukan that has, at great expense, installed mirrors high on mountainsides above it to ensure that winter sun hits the village and its inhabitants. Yup sunshine, and its associated vitamin D, is that important folks.
But this post is not about the medical or physiological. It’s more about the spiritual. I’ve never really stopped to think what it is that so draws me to a sunset. That glowing ball of fire that recedes at first slowly, and then at such a pace in its final flurry that it leaves you gasping for more. A circular kaleidoscope of golden colour that seems to hold mastery over the entire sky.
It’s not just me. Sunsets seem to beguile us all.
As a traveller I love to observe. I normally roam, with pace set to saunter, with my SLR camera in hand. Often, if there is something of interest or something suddenly occurs that takes people’s interest, I will watch the people watching the event instead of the event itself.
One event that aptly fits the above description is a sunset. Particularly if there is ‘a best spot’ to view it. The end of a pier or a specified viewing platform. I will normally not fight the masses for the best spot on the platform but rather set up in a location that affords the best view of those viewing. You see I find crowds a bit of an anathema.
I love these the most. Not just because of my aforementioned aversion to being jostled by crowds but more-so because if you view a sunset by yourself it can be magical. There is almost a relationship formed between you, the viewer, and the dying sun. You know it will be back but there is almost theatre in the final death throes, as a crimson ball finally is defeated and sinks beneath the victorious horizon.
I don’t actually think it really matters where you are if you can get that solo viewing experience. I have on occasion actually stopped my car to view a particularly memorable sunset. I don’t know why I do. Is it because we all have a finite amount of sunsets in us? Who knows…
Some of my most memorable sunsets, it’s also fair to say, have involved holding a flute of bubbles or cold beer as a salute to the sun on her twilight descent. Bali and Greece in particular provide me with very, very fond memories of sundowners at sunset.
Beach + Deck Chair + Sundowner + Sunset = BLISS
Here’s my final ‘1000 words’.
This image I took of a surfer in Legian, Bali sums up much better than I can in words the spellbinding nature of sunsets. There is a tangible power wielded by the sun. It stops people in their tracks – literally. No wonder civilisations of yesteryear built shrines as reverence to her powers. A power we all still can feel today.
What is it about sunsets?
NB – Just writing this article has made me smile…
All photography © Saxon Templeton (Except ‘Feature Image’)