Sun sets on the gulf coast at the Florida panhandle.

How many times have you watched the sun set? Not just noticed it setting: I mean really enjoyed it. Something folks on vacation often do, but otherwise we are mostly just too busy. Sunrises, moon rises and sunsets are always affected by external forces. The beauty can be in clouds, lovers, locations, occasions, but one thing always happens at a sunset—the sun sinks below the horizon and another day is gone. I love it when the sun begins sinking in earnest, the sky hues changing before our eyes from yellows to orange to violets.  When the sun is low on the horizon it gradually picks up speed, sinking, sinking, sinking, faster and faster. The giant orange globe keeps getting larger and larger, rounder and rounder, Until that last moment—when that brilliant orb disappears below the horizon. As if it were never there. Like a smile lost…  my heart always struggles—a bit lonely—when the sun has gone for the day.

Adding the sea to a sunset is a spectacular ingredient. Swaying palms add magic too. Some say they have seen a green flash just as the sun disappears below the horizon. Some celebrate the sunset by blowing hard notes on conch shell horns until their puffing cheeks turn red and their lungs are about to burst, friends nearby toasting their success and the joy of the moment.

Like sheet music in 3/4 time …… The waltz of the sun quickens our hearts, describes our mortality, plays sweet sounds in our mind’s eye—”I won’t ever forget that one—at least not until my next favorite calls to me.”

St. George Island Light

Golden moonrise March 18, 2011

The sunset featured in this post took place on March 23, 2011. It was viewed from the long bridge that leads from Eastpoint to St. George Island near Apalachicola, Florida. It is quite rare in this writer’s experience for a sunset in a clear sky to have the magic of this one. I first really noticed the specialness of it at the St. George Lighthouse when the sky was a perfect graduated tone from light-yellow to orange to violet to purple-sky blue. It was only 100 yards from the lighthouse to the bridge and I just made it in time to see my favorite sunset!

Oh, and please let’s not leave out the sunrise. It signifies beginnings. My favorite was on Mount Haleakala, Maui many years ago. Or the golden moonrise just last week I photographed in Townsend GA. All wonders of life on earth that make everyday living very special.

Sunrise Haleakala Crater, Maui, Hawaii

Life offers so many gifts, one needs but to receive them. Enjoy this one on me.

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