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Catching the Sunset. SFLU PH 2009.

I am a lover of sunsets.  One reason why I love going to the beach is not because I am a good swimmer (which I am not), or a good surfer (obviously not likewise), but because I am such a huge fan of sunsets.  I love seeing the mix and match of pink with orange hues, yellows and grays in various tones.  I love the serenity it showers upon the soul, the feeling that another day is about to end, and that one’s mission for the day is (probably, hopefully) accomplished.    I love that it fills the edge of the ocean with sparkling gold illumination until you see only half of the sun, and later on only a bright dot before darkness envelops the world. 

I think no two sunsets are ever the same, and I always catch myself watching sunsets in awe, every time.

I am likewise a huge fan of Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince which I read in college (admittedly, I am a late bloomer in fiction reading, but I think I had substantially compensated for the late start by not stopping since I started) and since the book has so many beautiful quotes, of course what stuck with me is the endlessly cited “what is essential is invisible to the eye” line.

But as serendipity would have it, I saw this wonderful quote from the same book which seemed to have slipped through me when I read it (I read it twice, actually), and it goes: “You know — one loves the sunset, when one is so sad . . .”
‘Were you so sad, then?’ I asked, ‘on the day of the forty-four sunsets?’
But the little prince made no reply.”

I remember Jessica Zafra speaking about that in one of her essays: “That’s the thing about a great book: every time you read it, it’s different, because you are different. You have changed since the last time you picked it up, things have happened to you…”.

So it’s like hearing it from Saint Exupery for the first time, and finding out a little too late that my love for sunsets may be equated to sadness.  But it does make sense, you know, to have that dominant sad nerve in your body if you are a sucker for sunsets.  A sunset is a representation of brightness winding up, of darkness falling, probably of things ending.  I guess I did not need The Little Prince to tell me that.

As of press time I am on my way to see a different sunset in the south, my first time in the lovely city of Davao.  My heart will be too elated in wanderlust mode to think of sadness, but who knows?  Hey, they say you cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness (Jonathan Safran Foer).  So let it be.


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