Ocean Sunsets

Sunset, whether unfolding behind a range of mountains, amidst the painted skies of the Great Plains or beyond the jagged silhouette of a modern city, is always a beautiful and stirring event. Ocean sunsets, however, seem to produce more emotional impact, as our glowing, orange star drops below the edge of the Earth.

Often witnessed by crowds of humans, whether on beaches, on a ship or on shoreline balconies, ocean sunsets are usually a collective experience, igniting a sense of wonder but dredging up a deep-seated fear, buried in the soul of man. Long before we came to understand the motion of heavenly bodies and the astronomical cause for sunsets, the gathering darkness, frought with a host of natural dangers, was surely a source of concern; whether the sun would return, bringing its life-sustaining heat and light, was not taken for granted.

Even today, as the sun drops behind the sharp line of the sea, this fear, however weak, wells up from our genetic past. While we might not acknowledge its presence, it surely plays a role in our emotional response to sunsets. Natural beauty, after all, comes with a price and our personal capacity to ward off the darkness is but a transient gift.