What a Sunset Might Teach Us

Steamboat bay in southeast Alaska.

There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”  ~ Jo Walton

Sunsets never captured so much of my attention before I moved to Alaska. I appreciated them elsewhere, certainly, because to do otherwise might make me seem aloof and uncaring of nature, and I would never be like that. No, I think sunsets draw me closer because of their dynamic existence in Alaska; changing their bedtime every day, if only by a matter of seconds.

With so many opportunities available to me, in so many different locations around the state, I’ve started a gallery of sunsets. Unofficially, of course, but I like to go back and click through my favorite places and remember how I felt standing in that exact spot the minute the sun slipped below the Alaska horizon, be it 12 p.m. or 12 a.m., as the geographical and seasonal case may be.

I try and encourage AK Kid to do the same, but at nine, he is perhaps not as privy to secrets of adults and sunsets as yet. Romantic, final, hopeful, or full of sorrow, a sunset is both and end and a beginning, but knowing that comes later.

For now, we’ll try and remember the gift of simply being near one.


Winter Solstice sunset.

Grandview/Turnagain Arm after a big storm, as viewed from the Alaska Railroad.

A moment of solitude in the sand. Steamboat bay, southeast Alaska.


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