PERSPECTIVES: WATCH A SUNRISE. THEN A SUNSET

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The sun does not keep office hours. So, should we?

Sunrises and sunsets.

Some say that they have no meaning other than to remind us that life is cyclical, as day defeats night – only to be swallowed by the darkness in return.

I disagree.

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Question: How many sunrises and sunsets are there in the biblical 3 score and 10?

Answer: 25,568 of each, counting the most possible number of leap years.

Not that you will see them all, due to a number of reasons – some self-inflicted.

And how many of these have and will you actually enjoy during your life?

Not enough, say some. Too many, others may feel. Much depends on your frame of mind – and for others, their state of health.

Physical

The 6 Mile High Club.

One of my most bleary-eyed but happiest sunrises was at 10,000 meters (33,000 feet = 6.25 miles) somewhere over Africa, on our way to introduce my wife to my family. A small arc of red-hot gold crept into the porthole where we were seated. The photo I took of it still brings back a rush of memories – demanding a few minutes of silence as I contemplate how many sunrises I have left unseen. Wasted. Like water thrown onto a dune.

Memorable sunsets were gifted me whilst sailing from South Africa – eastward towards Australia. On its eventide dip into the quick darkening blue pond the sun would leave a golden tail like an unwinding ball of cotton to follow us as it repainted the sky from blue to yellow, then red and indigo – and finally violet before retiring..

  • The sunrise of our lives is made memorable by running here running there as we grow up. Our sunset brings with it a more measured and slower pace.

Mental

The ever-changing theatre of sunrises and sunsets has a psychological significance all their own, bestowing spiritually uplifting experiences on us, boosting our mental and emotional wellbeing – and satisfaction with life in general as we behold their ethereal and ephemeral beauty.

At the dawn of history they set the day and night time boundaries for both man and animal – governing the hunt and food gathering of the diurnals (daytime beings) as well as the darkness to seek protection from nocturnal dangers.

  • Their beauty and grace are natural – in contrast to the learned artistic and other dazzle which attempt to compliment nature by imitation.

Social

Card-night.

Times were when the four of us could not wait for sunset on certain Fridays. As dusk wooed the birds into the trees which shaded my second floor apartment balcony, I would ready the table in the center of my living room for our monthly poker marathon which terminated at dawn. Friendships forged in the midnight hours. Book-ended by sunset and sunrise. Punctuated by breakfast. And a closer bond.

  • The sunrise of our lives is filled with making new friends and binding relationships whilst our sunset brings with it a dwindling of numbers. Be thankful for every day. Celebrate Life, while you can.

Emotional

Nature’s own alarm clock.

Make time for a sunrise and a sunset – other than going to work in one and coming home in the other.

It is in the rhythm of nature that we find our ways. To take an early morning walk in our gardens just as sunrise turns the dewdrops on plants and flowers into pearls. To pluck a fresh tomato or a pod of peas and taste them from the stem – as God created them. Then hesitate in midstride to let a bee do the work it was sent for – the wonder of pollination.

I am allergic to loud alarm clocks – always opting to find a home near a tree-rimmed park and be woken by the birds as they stir their fledglings to a new morning before going out on their day’s business, only to return and saturate dusk with a cacophony of chatter before putting their babies to rest with a final lullaby.

  • Both sunrise and sunset speak to our emotion.

Intellectual

Every new day pays its own homage to the primordial dawn and dusk of nature. And that is perhaps why their grandeur is such in the presence of which man is humbled as a transient being. They speak to the Soul of Man – not in words but with an unsurpassed beauty.

Neither Michelangelo nor Da Vinci could ever have painted a sunrise or sunset to take pride of place next to the originals. And our vocabulary falls far short to describe their splendor.

  • No words or artistic imitation can do them justice.

Spiritual

We are cyclical beings.

As our spiritual awakening and development move from personal Sunrise to final Sunset, let us live our Day fully, celebrating it. Purposefully. And also with reflection for Tomorrow, which will come as it may.

And in the Sunset of our lives let us be grateful for the Gift through which we had opportunity to share and bring joy to others – before our Night arrives.

There is a Higher Order at Work.

GOD – if you must.

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