sunsets in 12 countries
I love sunset. It’s my favorite time of day. I know it’s a general statement. Who doesn’t like sunsets, after all? But I have a special attachment to them. Every sunset sinks me into a place. It bonds me to where I am and inextricably ties me to it and makes that place my home – a place that I belong, if only for the fleeting time it takes for the sun to make its final daily descent.
The sun will always rise and always set (unless the Mayans got something right about Dec. 21…). A sunset uses the land you’re standing on as its canvas. It looks different everywhere, but it happens just the same no matter where you are.
Over the past six years, I’ve lived in multiple cities and lived in or visited 12 countries, and I’ve experienced this natural light show in every place. DC is the first time I’ve stuck in one city for longer than eight months since high school, and I’ve now been here for two and a half years. I can hardly believe it. I’ve come to know this city and call it my own – I even root for the Nationals and proudly cheer, “HAIL!” for the Redskins. But I didn’t truly feel at home here until my first sunset.
The first I remember distinctly, the one that took hold of me and claimed me, was last year during cherry blossom season. I went for a run around the tidal basin after work, and I stopped short, nearly tripping myself, catching my breath, so I could take in the sun reflecting off the tidal basin waters, cherry blossoms glistening in the fading light. The Jefferson Memorial stood out, dignified. As I took it all in, a sense of peace come over me – I was home.
I’ve had that same moment in South Africa – inside of Kruger National Park. A giraffe wandered by the side of the truck, but I was held captive in the sun’s rays, shimmering gold and hopeful between the twisted trees that came straight out of The Lion King.
I discovered my place and my footing in the soft sands of the Indian Ocean when the sun dipped below the sea, illuminating it, making it warm, inviting me in.
Mozambique is home to me, even if I may never get there again. On the unspoiled lands, with a hammock and a hut in which to rest my head, I made friends that will be with me through this lifetime, as we walked from day turning into night.
In the San Bernardino Mountains, just as high as you can go, sits my home from another time. It’ll steal your breath and heart away, like it stole mine every single time the sun took you with it on its journey over the peaks.
And here in Bloomingdale, in my new neighborhood and corner of DC, I stole a moment on a walk with Theo, to admire the artwork in the sky.
To me, home is more than a comfortable bed, apartment and solid kitchen table. Home is the place I am and the adventure that awaits.