Thoughts on Sunsets
People who know me should have at least a surface level understanding of my love of sunrises and sunsets. I take an excessive number of sunset photos purely for my own enjoyment, and I wanted to try and explain why they captivate me so deeply.
I think it’s amazing that the sun sets each and every single day, yet no two sunsets are exactly alike. That means there exists an infinite number of uniquely beautiful experiences available to us, so long as we bother to look. Even a single sunset on a given evening looks different depending on where you are observing it from. That being said, there are some sunsets that are significantly more remarkable than others, and one of the things I love about that type of super-sunset is the collective appreciation they seem to elicit across a greater number of people.
A spectacular sunset stops people in their tracks, and I love that a sunset has the power to force people out of their routines or obligations to enjoy the moment. I also appreciate that there are others out there who adore a sunset enough to stop and watch them like I do — to acknowledge the beauty provided by our natural world.
I know that if the sunset was amazing that I can scroll through my social media afterwards and find at least a few others out there who stopped to check it out as well. It’s nice thinking about all of the people out there who may have stopped to watch — to share an appreciation for those moments, it provides me with a unique sense of collective joy and wonder.
But one thing that I have come to appreciate more and more about watching a sunset is that in a world where our entire lives have been commodified — watching a sunset feels like an act of resistance or defiance against the dominant culture. Witnessing a sunset is wonderful because it is totally free to enjoy, all it requires is your awareness and attention, and nobody can take that away from you and box it up and charge you for it. There are no recurring revenue streams, no subscriptions required, it’s an accessible wonder — provided as a public good by nature herself. Just existing means you have the chance to participate so long as you remember to look up.
Life is short, which means I only have a finite number of evenings and therefore sunsets remaining that I will ever get the chance to experience. In our busy lives, a sunset is gone before many of us have even noticed it has started. I feel like the ephemerality of a sunset mirrors our own brief time together on this planet, we need to stop and enjoy it while we have the chance.