What Is It About Sunsets?


Well, I’m finally back home and settling in for a long stay after a spring and summer marked by frequent (excessive?) travel. The last hurrah of the travel season was a few days camping in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Wow. If you’ve never been, I’d highly recommend a visit.

There are several car-camping sites to choose from in each park, and we (my husband, brother and I) decided to try our luck in Sunset Campground, on the Kings Canyon/Sequoia border. It’s first-come, first-served (most in the park are), and we timed our arrival perfectly to score a site on the western edge – the ideal place to view the sunset.

We were not disappointed.

What is it about sunsets that seize your heart? No matter how many of them you bear witness to, each one is magical. And like an orgasm, each one is beautiful in its own way.

Some explode with color and light, a symphony bursts forth and blazes out in a matter of moments.


Others build slowly, teasing you with their potential, but then quietly come and go, trying not to bother you too much with their presence. They are wonderful, nonetheless, in their unpretentious and subdued beauty.


Not everything has to be a party.

It’s important to have variety. Each one can’t be a blowout or we would become desensitized. You can have too much of a good thing. It’s meant to be a treat, a dessert at the end of the day. But too much can make you fat. So you have a little mint tea instead, most nights.

But one evening the colors erupt into a cake-and-ice-cream dream. The spectacle rips open your heart and mind and you can’t help but be still while its radiance envelopes you, penetrates you, stirs you.


Is that what it is about sunsets?

Or is it all the pretty colors? All day the sky is blue or gray or white, but for a few impossible minutes it turns orange, magenta, deep purple, golden yellow, heart-pumping red and a million colors in between before it all fades to black as quickly as it came. A feast for the eyes that nourishes the soul.


What is it about sunsets?