In his feature film, The Drifter, Rob Machado famously reflects on the contrasting beauties of sunrises versus sunsets: “I never really understood why people gather to watch the sun disappear. There is so much more beauty in watching something arrive.”
Although I agree with Machado in that sunrises are more beautiful, I wouldn’t say I never understood why so many people gather to see the sunset. In fact, there are so many reasons for us to watch the sunset that I would rephrase Machado’s words and say that I never really understood why people don’t gather more often to see the sun disappear.
For some of us, a sunset may be a chance to sit still for a minute. For others, it may be about the show of colours. Some see this as an opportunity to get in touch with Mother Nature; others, to get in touch with the divine. Some want this intimate moment of contemplation so they can look within themselves; others so they can expand and explore beyond themselves.
There are those who appreciate the sunset – and indeed the sunrise – for facilitating navigation, for telling us where we are in relation to a given landmark. And then there are those who embrace a more philosophical side to this natural occurrence: some things end so others can begin. But regardless of reasons, one thing is certain – we all enjoy watching the sun go to rest.
FIVE CURIOUS FACTS ABOUT SUNSET
1. The Earth’s atmosphere, roughly 500km/300mi thick, facilitates sunsets by acting as a prism of air and scattering the light emitted by the sun.
2. Due to the way our planet’s atmosphere bends light, we can see the setting even though it has already dropped behind the horizon line – or any other line acting as a horizon.
3. As a sunset unfolds, the sun itself loses its blue hues and the wavelengths slowly degrade into warmer colours – first green, then yellow, orange, and finally the red so many of us know and cherish.
4. When there is pollution in the air, smoke particles end filtering out colours and enhancing the warm hues (yellows, pinks, oranges, and reds) in a sunset.
5. The higher a cloud is in the sky, the more vivid is the sunset colours they reproduce.
BEST SUNSET QUOTES
Below is our selection of the best sunset quotes ever written and spoken – from romantic to motivational, funny to poignant, nature-inspired to human-driven. While reading these, remember that, just like the people who wrote/spoke these words felt something powerful when expressing their thoughts and emotions about sunsets, you too can access such a state of mind and spirit by making a conscious effort. And by getting out there to watch the sunset!
“With every sunset a new hope is born, and an old expectation dies.” –– Noor Unnahar
“At the moment that everything goes dark, the sunset in front of us becomes the whole story. But if we find courage enough to wait until tomorrow morning, we will suddenly come to understand that in reality yesterday’s sunset was only half of the story.” –– Craig D. Lounsbrough
“Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.” –– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A great sunset is like well-controlled arson.” –– Dean Johnston
“Every sunset is also a sunrise. It all depends on where you stand.” –– Karl Schmidt
“The sun rises, the sun falls, the wind blows and the birds sing no matter where you are. These are experiences that unite us all… something we can all enjoy together.” –– Melanie Charlene
“Don’t forget – beautiful sunsets need cloudy skies.” –– Paulo Coelho
“Each day you wake up, you wake up with billions around the world but when the sun sets, not all retire. It is a joyful privilege to note that you are a unique person among billions of people who wake up each day to walk on the surface of the earth. It is a noble responsibility to note that you have to use this privilege effectively.” –– Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
“A sunset is the sun’s fiery kiss to the night.” –– Crystal Woods
“When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.” ––Mahatma Gandhi
“If you are in a beautiful place where you can enjoy sunrise and sunset, then you are living like a lord.” –– Nathan Phillips
“Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under!” –– C. JoyBell C.
“The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color – oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples…” –– Anna Godbersen
“Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” –– Kristen Butler
“This is my favourite time of the day. Light and dark touch for a few moments… I used to wish dusk would last longer, but its quickness seems to add to making it special.” –– Regina McBride
“Meanwhile the sunsets are mad orange fools raging in the gloom….” –– Jack Kerouac
“They ran to the museums for paintings. I ran to the roof for sunsets.” –– Darnell Lamont Walker
“Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting.” –– Richard Paul Evans
“Sunset is the opening music of the night.” –– Mehmet Murat Ildan
“When your world moves too fast, and you lose yourself in the chaos, introduce yourself to each color of the sunset.” –– Christy Ann Martine
“O, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.” –– Roman Payne
“As the saturating colours of sun-life fade from sight, the ominous moon reaches out its long arm and applies the dark dyes of night.” –– Daniel J. Rice
“Twilight fell: The sky turned to a light, dusky purple littered with tiny silver stars.” –– J.K. Rowling
“A time when sky blue love bids farewell to the day and before dusk falls, the sunset ignites the smouldering embers of the moonlit soul.” –– Virginia Alison
“The sky broke like an egg into full sunset, and the water caught fire.” –– Pamela Hansford Johnson
“Dusk is just an illusion because the sun is either above the horizon or below it. And that means that day and night are linked in a way that few things are there cannot be one without the other yet they cannot exist at the same time. How would it feel, I remember wondering, to be always together yet forever apart?” –– Nicholas Sparks
“The whisper of the dusk is night shedding its husk.” –– Dean Koontz
“A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its going. And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east.” –– John Steinbeck
“Get outside. Watch the sunrise. Watch the sunset. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel big or tiny? Because there’s something good about feeling both.” –– Amy Grant
“Sunset shows that life is too beautiful to hold on to the past, so move on to the present.” –– Jennifer Aquillo
“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.” –– John Ruskin
“Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer the goal.” –– Elbert Hubbard
“The redness had seeped from the day and night was arranging herself around us. Cooling things down, staining and dyeing the evening purple and blue black.” –– Sue Monk Kidd
“Sunsets are proof that endings can be beautiful too.” –– Beau Taplin
“The sun still lives his silent vows to the moon, by bowing to kiss her feet whenever she walks in the room.” –– Curtis Tyrone Jones
“The only kind of sunsets that I don’t like are the ones that I missed.” –– Unknown Author
“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, ‘soften the orange a bit on the right-hand corner.’ I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” –– Carl R. Rogers
“Once I saw a chimpanzee gaze at a particularly beautiful sunset for a full 15 minutes, watching the changing colors [and then] retire to the forest without picking a pawpaw for supper.”–– Adriaan Kortlandt
“Her heart was made of liquid sunsets.” ––Virginia Woolf
“I’m a living sunset, lightning in my bones.” –– Ben Harper
“Age is irrelevant. Ask me how many sunsets I’ve seen, hearts I’ve loved, trips I’ve taken, or concerts I’ve been too. That’s how old I am.” –– Joëlle
“Not everyone has to ride off into the sunset with a man. Some of us just want a tan.” –– Mandy Hale
“Sunset on the water ought to be a quiet and easy time, but I guess some people can’t stand a little silence.” –– Carl Hiaasen
“Every moment of life is unique – a kiss, a sunset, a dance, a joke. None will ever recur in quite the same way. Each happens only once in the history of the universe.” –– Stephen Nachmanovitch
“One day, all your worries will set like the sun does and deserved happiness will come gushing like waves at the beach do.” –– Jasleen Kaur Gumber
“When your shadow becomes more popular than you, then you know that the sun is setting!” –– Mehmet Murat İldan
“When the sun went down, and touches of blue filtered into the fading afterglow, an orange lamp would light up in the knob of the bell and slowly begin to revolve. The beacon always pinpointed the onset of nightfall exactly. Against the most gorgeous sunsets or in dim drizzling mist, the beacon was ever true to its appointed moment: that precise instant in the alchemy of light and dark when darkness tipped the scales.” –– Haruki Murakami
“Watching the day slowly bloom into night. That’s how it always seemed to me: not the fading of a withered flower, but the opening of some dark, rich blossom, with unexpected hues and heavy scents.” –– Patricia A. McKillip
“Sunsets. The illusion either above the horizon or below it. When day and night are linked in a way that cannot be one without the other, yet they cannot exist at the same time.” –– Ebelsain Villegas
Bonus: A SUNSET POEM
By Pablo Neruda
“We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.
I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.
Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.
I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.
Where were you then?
Who else was there?
Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
when I am sad and feel you are far away?
The book fell that always closed at twilight
and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.
Always, always you recede through the evenings
toward the twilight erasing statues.”
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