Saturday, 3 January 2009


When I was still teaching my senior, cynical, know-it-all students, I would sometimes lapse into a good old “roll of the eyes” moment. I figured that if they refused to exercise their mind, they might as well exercise a body part close by. My “moment” would largely consist of extolling the beauty of a sunset and I would cite the writings and teachings of the American Transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. From a personal perspective I told them my goal was to try never to miss a sunrise or a sunset.

The sunset part is somehow easier to manage these days of indolent retirement. And it was with great delight that I happened upon this article by Bernard Baskin, in today’s Hamilton Spectator. One paragraph in particular opened up my morning. Rabbi Baskin referenced Ralph Waldo Emerson's idea that "if the sunset took place once every 10 years we would be so awed by its splendour and beauty that we would regard it as a miracle. But since it happens every day, we rarely pause to relish its wonder."

So, here is the first item on my list for the New Year. I will endeavour, each day of this year, to meet the evening sunset, with wonder and delight, wherever I may be, by the lake, the firepit, the porch, the roadside, the garden, the window. I hope you will find it possible to do so as well. I will be thinking of you.

The entire article by Rabbi Baskin is well worth a moment to enjoy, in advance of tonight’s sunset.


Wisewebwoman said...

I am finding much refreshment in your writing today, Marylou.
I will not miss another sunset.
PS and the sky is soooo blue today.

Marylou said...

Thank you, WWW. And yes, blue skies, bright sunshine, crunchy snow, perfect for a mid-day walk in advance of more reading and writing.

Anonymous said...

I am inspired by this idea--thanks Marylou! Being something of a night-owl I do find sunsets much easier to watch for than sunrises. Today, the sky here in Victoria is blue too, no snow where I am but a lovely bright day, the sunset should be supreme!

Marylou said...

Hello your part of the world, on the coastline, you can get to watch the sun fall into the ocean each evening. On an especially quiet night, you might even hear it sizzle!!! Lucky you...

Tessa said...

Happy New Year, Marylou.

As a boater, I can heartily recommend the sunsets on Hamilton Harbour. It's one of those delicious little ironies - the greater the pollution, the prettier the sunset. And, because we have a south-facing Foredeck on the house, I never miss the sunrise at this time of the year either. Best possible bookstops to any day.

(Word veri is venexpog - sounds like something you would not want to catch, eh?)

persephone said...

Re your comment to did you know Marylou, that our sun sizzles as it falls into the ocean
where we live? *smile*

Your journal is such a good reminder to appreciate the little things that happen every day so that we don't become jaded.

'What if the sunset took place once every 10 years...?'

We on the west coast have a great many gray, rainy days when we do not get even a glimpse of the sun, never mind seeing it rise or set, so it IS a bit of a miracle when we do.

Saying that, I do love rainy days , so living where I do , I will vow to appreciate every day how green my environment is and how I seem to get my energy from the moisture.


persephone said...

Yes, Marylou...Yaaay for ALL of the 4 seasons!

I was smiling reading about pollution causing the prettiest sunsets in a former comment. This happens in southern California where the skies are the most vivid shades of violet, lasting for hours around sunset.


Marylou said...

Yes, Claire, I also love the rain, as long as it is interspersed with sunshine...and right now in Ontario we are enjoying bright, sunny, crisp, snowy weather...I can't imagine living where the weather is constant. (wherever that might be???) I do love all 4 seasons...They all bring their own beauty and colour.