I grew up in a small Southern California beach town, my street ended at the cliff above the ocean. I never really noticed the sunsets while growing up, probably the unending sameness of smog-hazed twilights wasn’t enough to distract me from whatever job I had to finish if I wanted permission to go surfing the next morning. And I definitely wanted that permission!
It wasn’t until people from “outside” discovered our little town, and folks from the “east” started moving in that I gave the end of the day a second chance. They had never seen a Pacific coast sunset, and it was obviously a marvel to them. I would look up from the lawnmower to see them walking down the street in ones and twos, many carrying glasses of Chardonnay, to sit on the bench overlooking the railroad tracks and the sea beyond. I would casually follow, only to see what held their interest, and could hear their gasps at the split second appearance of the Green Flash. I had never heard of the Green Flash, nor considered it’s pursuit a worthwhile expenditure of my precious ten-year old’s evening.
But then, I was drawn in. Taking the time to watch the day soften into evening became a worthwhile pursuit, even for a little kid! It was several years before I found out that there was also a colorful edge to the day in the morning as well. Now the light’s waxing and waning captures my attention like the whirring of a can opener provides focus for an ADD afflicted Labrador.
Life aboard both Westward and Catalyst is focused on experiencing each moment to its fullest measure. We eat wonderful food and savor each bite. Anchor in quiet, secluded coves and hold our breaths so we can hear life’s subtle symphony playing along the shore and in the forest or desert that surrounds us. We use our cameras to settle our tendency to race past the subtle movements that indicate a rare dipper, or a ray swimming just below the surface. When we really look at that one ray, we realize that it is but one of a thousand moving slowly through the bay.
We remember how to notice the small indicators that point toward the exaltations of the day, like we used to do when we were children. Our childhood delight in a riot of flowers is restored when, as our grown up selves, we take the time to steep ourselves in wildness.
And we rise early for the sunrises, and pause for the sunsets, because we recognize their unique value. None will even be like this one. Photographed or just watched (perhaps with a glass of Chardonnay), they are masterpieces worthy of the finest collection in the world.