My Java Journal

On Sunsets: The Power Of Presence

A favourite sunset, a favourite moment – my daughter and I in Iceland. (Akranes, Iceland. 2016)


Sunsets are one of the simplest and most joyful of moments a person can experience. The closing of a day lived; the hope and anticipation in the dawning of another.

A sunset is one of the most visceral of experiences that can be shared. It evokes a primal awe in the majesty of this celestial rock we call home; and the endless cosmos beyond. It is always fleeting, it is finite. You’re never guaranteed the next, try to marvel in the one before you.

You eagerly sit in anticipation of that moment when the sun dips, when it projects its most magnificent of colours. Never knowing what you are going to get. You need to be present, or quickly lose it as it dips below the horizon; forever gone. No two sunsets are ever the same. Nor the moment you share in their limited existence.

Forty-Four Sunsets

In The Little Prince, he shares that he once saw the sunset forty-four times. He further shares that

“one loves the sunset, when one is so sad…”

I’ve never found sunsets, nor sunrises for that matter, to be sad. If viewed alone, they are magical and hold the promise of tomorrow; another day to work towards your goals and dreams, to find that other to share the moment. If viewed with another, especially one connected to you deeply, it is a moment that can only, with great effort, be bested.

I think sunsets are superior when we are only able to behold them but once a day. Unlike the little prince, who can view them often on his home, we should experience them for the fleeting moments they are, those moments that cap a day lived as fully as possible.

Take the time to soak in the sunset; there are some remarkable benefits to this simple act. Better yet, take it in with that one special person for whom you long, and who you know values the moment as much as you do. If you understand that each is unique and fleeting, then you will know too that these most special of experiences are always best when shared.

An Excerpt From The Little Prince

Oh, little prince! Bit by bit I came to understand the secrets of your sad little life… For a long time you had found your only entertainment in the quiet pleasure of looking at the sunset.

I learned that new detail on the morning of the fourth day, when you said to me:

“I am very fond of sunsets. Come, let us go look at a sunset now.”

“But we must wait,” I said.

“Wait? For what?”

“For the sunset. We must wait until it is time.”

At first you seemed to be very much surprised. And then you laughed to yourself. You said to me: “I am always thinking that I am at home!”

Just so. Everybody knows that when it is noon in the United States the sun is setting over France. If you could fly to France in one minute, you could go straight into the sunset, right from noon. Unfortunately, France is too far away for that. But on your tiny planet, my little prince, all you need do is move your chair a few steps. You can see the day end and the twilight falling whenever you like…

“One day,” you said to me, “I saw the sunset forty-four times!”

And a little later you added: “You know, one loves the sunset, when one is so sad…” “Were you so sad, then?” I asked, “on the day of the forty-four sunsets?”

But the little prince made no reply.

Sunset over Ottawa. (Ottawa, Ontario. 19 March 2021)

We should here also recognize and reflect on the beauty and moment in a sunrise …

A special sunrise before a cold water immersion session. I waited, very happily, in anticipation for this one. (Ottawa, Ontario. 20 March 2021)

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