My brother has a ritual. No matter where he is or what he is doing, he must stop and watch the sunset every single day. The first couple times I was around for this, I thought, really, we have to wait until it is all the way down?
But then I watched him, sitting on the hillside, the magnificent display of colors in the sky as the sun slipped beneath the coastal mountain range off in the distance, and I understood. Watching the entire sunset every evening is an act of gratitude to life and this amazing planet we inhabit. It is so easy to forget to look at the sky, to miss its daily beauty, a show put on for us two times each day in case we miss the first.
This summer, when we were in Kauai, every evening was a celebration of the sinking sun. Cars and people would stop, where ever they might be, pulling off the road even, to watch the entire show. As the colors grew more amazing, more people would arrive, and soon there would be an audience of strangers brought together to witness the beauty of the sky, a certain surreal joy felt by locals and tourists alike.
That’s when I decided my brother belonged in Kauai, a place where people stop nightly to watch the setting sun. But, maybe it’s not just my brother that belongs there. Maybe we all do, or rather we deserve to live a life where there is time and willpower enough to stop and enjoy the show as part of a greater community.
To me, seeking out sunsets is symbolic of something much more profound– it represents a commitment to being present in a world that pulls us all directions at once. I thank my brother for teaching me this and look forward to tonight’s setting sun spent with family.