Ah, sunset. Since ancient times, it has signaled the end of long hard workings days for humans and many other day-loving creatures, while serving as a wake-up call for our nocturnal friends. Sunrise, sunlight, and the hours between have long served as bounded periods of rest, work, and leisure among people, and the Sun and stars themselves worshipped by many cultures. Indeed, before there was television, Internet, video game consoles, and streaming music, the starry night sky served as the premiere channel for late night entertainment and relaxation. Whether dancing beside a fire, or feasting upon a day’s kill or a harvested bounty, people would look up to the skies as they wound down in preparation for the regenerative slumber to come. Every one of these nightly light shows (weather-permitting) was commenced with the setting of our Sun in the West.
As we reflect upon the history of human sunset appreciation, we would like to give you some tips on how best to take in this free, natural marvel for yourself.
- With a Friend: Whether it’s your childhood bestie or a canine pal, it’s always nice to enjoy a sunset with a little bit of company. Some of my favorite ways to share a sunset with others include walking my dog and playing Ultimate Frisbee with my amigos!
- With More than a Friend: Meet someone new this new year? Why not make a date to marvel in the beauty of the star our lives revolve around? Any venue will do, and most are even free! The setting of the Sun just may very well embody the dawn of a great relationship to come.
- With an App: With modern technology, we can now enjoy the sunset any time of the day! Unlike the limitations on sun-gazers since time immemorial, limiting them to view the setting Sun but once a day, both live streaming video and star-tracking apps alike allow for today’s solar enthusiasts to enjoy a sunset anytime.
- Without an App: While technology is great, sometimes nature is best enjoyed sans the glare of screens and the frenetic presence of networks. Take the chance sometime to enjoy a sunset the good old fashioned way, leaving your laptop, tablet, and smartphone behind. That way, you can focus on living in that very moment, and take a break from the hectic world beyond.
- On a Boat: No doubt you have seen fireworks on the water and heard ‘Smoke on the Water’, but watching a sunset on the water can be an awesome experience as well. If you or a friend or family member has a marine vessel, why not plan a get-together one evening? You and all of your favorite people can share barbecue, the image of an orange Sun reflecting upon the shimmering water’s surface, and some good times all around.
- With Something Warm: When days are short and nights are long, nothing is better than melting away with the fading day, filling your gullet with some hot cocoa, soup, or coffee!
- With Something Cold: When I think of summer evenings, I think of fireflies fluttering about in the muggy air, against a twilight backdrop. In fact, about the only way to make such moments even better is by consuming some homemade frozen lemonade at the same time, or an organic-ice-cream-and-naturally-sweetened-soda float!
- On the Go: The Sun is always on the move, and many of us are too! If you want a challenge one evening, try racing the sun in your car, moving westward towards the horizon along with the celestial body, your favorite jams booming from your speakers the whole. Just don’t exceed the speed limit or disturb your fellow drivers please!
- While Getting Fit: New Year’s Resolution have been made, and people are getting moving! If you are a PM-exerciser, get outside and swim, bike, lift, or run in the twilight.
- Keeping It Safe: While watching a sunset can be a wonderful experience, as night falls safety often becomes an even greater priority. So no matter how you decide to experience a sunset, please decide to experience it as safely as possible. Depending on where you live and what you do, considerations to keep in mind after dark include responsible alcohol consumption, the threat of criminals, wild and stray animals, steep heights, and nearby bodies of water.
As long as you keep it safe and the skies are relatively clear, an awesome sunset can be experienced by almost anyone, anywhere, every day of the year (unless you live above or below the Arctic or Antarctic Circles, respectively, where 24-hour darkness DOES occur at times). Any way you choose to enjoy your next sunset, you will be joining in on a tradition shared by billions of other humans, from both now and yesteryear. Unlike our early progenitors, we now know that our earth does in fact revolve around the Sun. So why shouldn’t some of our happiest times do the same?