What is it about a sunset that makes us so often stand there and watch them. Who among us hasn’t stood transfixed by the setting sun at least once in their lives? I can’t imagine a life where a sunset wasn’t able to amaze me, just once. Where the awesome spectacle is able to cut right through whatever it is you’re doing or thinking and just arrest you in that moment.

I’m lucky enough to live on the West Coast of England near beaches where every day the sun dives into the Irish sea in endless variations of spectacle and wonder. Sometimes it leaves quietly, slipping away almost unnoticed. But on other occasions it draws the last few moments of that daylight to a dramatic and breath-taking conclusion, painting the clouds and sky like a masterpeice where dreams take wing.

I won a filmmaking award once for a movie I shot of a sunset on my digital camera. It was a simple little film, just one minute long. I shot it in order to gift my American friends with the sunset before it got to them that evening. The funny thing is, I think the little film maybe captures more of me than it does the sunset.

I went to the beach at New Brighton this evening to watch the sunset. I took the picture above while I was there. As I stood there watching the occasional plane make it’s way to the horizon I was reminded of a ‘meanwhile article‘ I wrote entitled ‘Waving at planes.’ At the end of that piece I wrote the following:

I often go to beaches not far from where I live to watch the setting sun spectacularly dip into the cold yet somehow inviting sea. No two sunsets are ever the same. The sky fills with saturated shades of reds and oranges fading into deep dark blues.

It’s then when the distant planes look their most alluring as they vanish into the sunset. Beneath them the golden waves of the Irish Sea then after quickly passing over Ireland, just mile after mile of nothing but Atlantic Ocean. To me this is what hope looks like: a clear sky, an empty ocean and a plane chasing the sun, leaving only a vapor trail fading in its wake.

I know they can’t see me as I wave. They don’t need to see me.
I’m not waving for them… I’m waving for me.

Meanwhile : Waving at planes