The Sun Rises… The Sun Sets

October 13, 2009

“I great the dawn and not a setting sun, when all is done.” -Paul Laurence Dunbar

The opening and the closing of each day are the most spectacular moments in time. In fact, each moment is time. We mark the moments of our lives, our entire calendar of events on how often that golden orb rolls its way across the sky. Without the sun to rise and set upon us, we would utterly be lost in the dark. The words sunrise and sunset probably spark up similar, if not the same, images in most people’s minds: A pretty picture of the sun hanging just above the horizon, but close attention reveals many differences between the two similar events. Which horizon the sun is hanging above makes all the difference in the world, and these differences are strangely symbolic of our lives.

The sunrise almost always gives an appearance of new glory in the sky. It is the symbol of new birth, the miracle of creation constantly renewing itself as the old passes away and life is given to those who would open up their eyes and see the glory displayed. We spend the first nine months of our lives in a quiet slumber in soft darkness clinging to our mother’s life support. We spend each night of our lives clinging to our pillows, our dogs, and eventually our spouse. Coming out of the womb, we find a bright and blinding light; everything is confusing and new, and at dawn’s first light, we must shake off the quiet slumber as we wake to the blunt revelation of a new day. The sun is never visible first thing in the morning. A heavy mist often covers the landscape, leaving us only a hazy yellow-orange-light just over the horizon that is pushing the darkness of confusion ever westward until we can finally see and understand in the light of day. A sunrise does not usually consist of too many colors. While the sky becomes heavenly in the new light, somehow, the earth looks beige, as if you have been placed in an old fading photograph. In these first few moments of the day, you are able to look directly into the sun and not lose your sight. We have a soft orange glow hanging against a pale yellow sky as we begin to search out our path for the new day.

As the sun rises higher into the sky, it becomes a brighter yellow, and the color of the earth begins to take a sharper focus in our lives. The most intriguing time of the sunrise is after it is already a good way up into the sky when soft white clouds, lined with a touch of gray, often appear in front of the sun. These clouds are the first signs of mystery in the day we must face. They are the people we first interact with following our ascent into this new world; our mothers, fathers, siblings and doctors… Bands of sunlight shoot out through and around these clouds ensuring us that there is something else, something glorious and higher than the mystery. There is light that is etched into our subconscious from birth; it is brighter than the sun, it is beyond the sky, it may be reflected in the faces we see in our lives, but these faces are not the source. This is the light we spend the rest of the day searching for. This light gives us a reason to get up and out of bed every morning. At times the clouds cover up the brightness; darkness and rain dominate the day and create the mystery of the light, but if our day is bright and our eyes are open to the light, we will be the reflection for others who are still lost in the mystery.

Meanwhile the dark night constantly pushes the sun across the sky into the western horizon, bringing us full circle to our deaths. I have always found sunsets more beautiful than sunrises. They simply have more personality. Sunsets often have every color of the rainbow, albeit in dark shades and tones, involved in the intricate pattern that the clouds make up in the sky. These colors are the true accomplishments of our lives, all the emotions we have felt, all the ways we have touched others are now reflected on their faces and hearts. They are the memories we cling to, knowing we are nearer to slipping into the dark, the unknown. Man’s fear of death is inevitable. There comes a time in many sunsets when the sun seems to disappear for moments behind the clouds, leaving a dark gray sky filled with a cold loneliness. There comes a time in a person’s life when he shivers from the chill of the night as he realizes how short is the time he has left, and he chokes with fear. However, for those who became testimonies of the greater light, the sky fades to an orange-auburn. The sun appears blood red just over the horizon. The earth, once so colorful, now is painted black against the auburn sky. A man finds peace within himself. His fate is accepted, and the sun slips over the edge of time. Darkness covers the sky. A new beginning of a new unknown.

Zed's sunset copy


Peter L Richardson


2 Responses to “The Sun Rises… The Sun Sets”

  1. Hey, I found your blog while searching on Google. I have a blog on online stock trading, I’ll bookmark your site.

  2. Chester Says:

    I dunno, they’re kinda the same to me this time of year. I ride INTO the sunrise all the way to work, and I ride INTO the sunset all the way home. Good thing I have a visor on my helmet and good eye protection. I want to be rich some day and live EAST of where I work.
    Just kidding – the sunrise is full of promise. I love it when I get up before the sun, the day has endless possibilites. I also like a sunset on a day when everything went well – especially in the Rockies. It literally is “raining fire in the sky”, like ol’ John Denver sang. It’s true, and it’s beautiful. God’s own daily masterpiece.

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