Sunday, May 12, 2013

Watching the sunset from 7-11

I have a thing about sunsets.  I guess you could consider me a connoisseur of sunsets.  I enjoy sunrises too, but their timing is somewhat antagonizing, being at dawn and all that.  It's hard to really enjoy a sunrise during the weekday between the shower and the letting the dog out and the forgetting the coffee mug on top of the car as you pull down the driveway. 

When I used to make farm calls more often than I do now, I often saw both sunrises and sunsets in the same day due to long hours in the truck.  There was something nice about going to a dairy before sunrise, pulling a calf in the dark pre-dawn hours, and then walking back out to the truck under a pink and glowing sky. 

Now I feel I collect sunsets and sunrises.  I photograph them whenever possible, and take a moment to enjoy them whenever I can.  Our house, sitting in its cramped and impervious-to-nature subdivision faces east and I can catch glimpses of the sunrise from our second story bedroom window.  This has led to many a fleeting image of sunrise from a camera poking out at 6 am on a wintry morning. 

Winter sunrise out the bedroom window
Unfortunately, our house has no view of the sunset.  We sit in a slight dip and the backyard offers a marvelous view... of the neighbors' backyards.  However, drive up a small hill out of the neighborhood and across the street to the 7-11.  There, in the parking lot facing due west is a fairly unobstructed view of the sunset.  And so I sit in my Honda Civic sometimes just to watch the sky.  And occasionally eat ice cream.  

View of the sunset at my 7-11

Over the years of sunset observation, I have learned a thing or two.  I've found that winter is usually the best season for the most colorful sunsets (and sunrises) and I've also observed that tumultuous weather sometimes yields the best sunsets of all.  It's all about cloud placement.  And a little luck.  Of course there's some science behind it, too.  For some really good info on sunsets, visit NOAA's website here

Interestingly, on self-reflection, I don't actually find sunsets particularly inspiring for writing, at least not in the way other things affect my neurons like a hike in the woods or a good bike ride.  Perhaps if I were a painter I would glean more creative sustenance from a sunset.  But that's ok.  Maybe it's because when I watch a sunset, my head is empty.  I'm enjoying it for what it is - a fleeting colorful image that is changing before my eyes and will be gone in minutes.  Indeed, I've had sunset experiences where I've run for the camera only to find upon return that the colors are no longer as vibrant as they were only minutes before.  There's probably some deep metaphor on life buried in here somewhere - feel free to find it and let me know.

We have an upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest in about a month.  I'm really looking forward to catching a sunset or two over the Pacific.  Until then, the sunset around here occurs around 7:45 pm.  If you're passing through the 7-11 at that time, you just might see me.  I'd like to share a few more sunsets/sunrises with you as collected on various travels.  Enjoy!

Sunset: Maui

Sunrise: Maui
Sunset: Frederick, Maryland
Sunset: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Sunset: Key Largo, Florida

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