Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Seattle Sunsets: Many Shades of Awe

Yesterday, I gasped at the sunset
in a newness of awe
I never before experienced;
that which seemingly occurred
the day before, the yesterday,
reiterated the today in such a special way
I gasped

-From "Gasp" by Gillena Cox

Do you ever stop to watch the sunset?  

While we don't see so many here in western Washington during winter, when we do it's often a spectacular display. (For you early birds, same can be said for the sunrise.)

Throughout the year I'm drawn to Puget Sound beaches to witness the sun slipping behind the jagged spine of the Olympic Mountains.  Like a serrated knife facing skyward, these mountains slice the western horizon and provide a dramatic backdrop for day's end.

I can't get enough.


Most often I'm down at Carkeek Park near my home, where I also regularly walk in the woods. The big  lawn with a panoramic view of the Sound is where I start, then cross over a pedestrian bridge spanning railroad tracks and down the stairs to the beach. (Passing trains always toot their horn to waving people clustered on the bridge above the tracks.)

Some evenings the beach is packed (usually nice weekend days), and sometimes I almost have the beach to myself.  But there are always a few others there to witness the show.

One thing is consistent:  I never tire of being there, never tire of hearing the gentle lap or rush of waves on the beach, never tire of seeing the sky change hues and clouds shift to shades of gold, pink, orange, and, sometimes, crimson red. 

And I never tire of gulping in the visual feast of the Olympics cresting the horizon across the Sound.

When the sky darkens to early twilight, it's hard to tear myself away.  Usually the evening chill finally drives me back to my car and on home.

Others come regularly.  An older, wiry man can often be seen on the beach at Carkeek year-round, stripped down to bare chest and shorts, flailing his arms then plunging into the Sound for a few minutes of swimming in the cold water.

And I used to see an elderly couple parked above the beach every night silently watching the sunset. Haven't seen them for a few years now, but I still think of them and their evening ritual, grasping the remains of the day.

Where is your favorite spot to watch a sunset?

Thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons. I hope I inspire you to get out more and explore and protect this special corner of the world. Or even just appreciate your own slice of paradise, wherever you live.

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Happy trails!


mab said...

I was just down in Des Moines last Sunday night, with my cousin and our daughters at Salt Water Park, where we met just to watch the sunset. It looked just like these images- Awe-inspiring. That might be one of my favorites sunset spots on Puget Sound. Thanks Jill.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful… beautiful photograph and beautiful language.

Thank you for sharing,

Suezy P said...

When I lived in the Methow Valley, I commuted to Okanogan and back for work, via the Loup Loup Mountain Pass, elevation 4020’. Every morning headed over, I was treated to the most colorful and spectacular sunrises. From the summit I could see the curve of the earth. Occasionally, on a clear night I watched, in awe, the Aurora Borealis pulsing and flashing in full color. On my return commute home, I was treated to the sunset. Sometimes, the scene was so breathtaking; I had to pull over because I was overwhelmed to tears. The winter commute was my favorite. The trees are very close to the two-lane highway. The tips of the branches extend to the edge of the road. Heavily laden with snow, they reminded me of sentinels – keepers of, and ushers to the valley below. On many occasions I've seen the reflection of a shocking sunset on the road’s icy coating. It is on this mountain pass that my soul was fed and my spirit healed. I'm with you Jill...I can never tire of this.

Lesley said...

Gorgeous photos -- what colors! Favorite place to watch a sunrise? Probably from the top of Saddlerock, right here in the Wenatchee foothills. Morning glow, then light, reflecting on the Columbia River.

jill said...

Mab, sounds wonderful, so glad you're daughters were also there to appreciate the beauty too. Will need to go check that out sometime at Saltwater Park! Kayaked from there in the summer.

Thanks for your comment Viola!

Susie, thanks again so much for sharing your vivid descriptions, you spirit and joy shine through your lovely prose. So fortunate to see the Aurora Borealis, I never have. Was supposed to be visible here last night but too cloudy.

Lesley, sounds like an awesome way to start the day!