When I was growing up back in my hometown, I lived on the side of a mountain which panned the length of the city. Since I lived on the western side of the mountain, I was always told that I lived on the sunset side of the mountain, which was always looked at with disdain compared to the sunrise side of the mountain which was always praised for its beautiful morning vistas and brighter overall outlook on the city as a whole. I could never understand why there was such a one-sided opinion against one side over the other for something as simple as a morning view. Eventually I came to realize that the problem lied not with the view or even the people who lived on either side of the mountain. The problem arose from the symbolism people associated with the sunrise and sunset.
It seems that the sunrise is placed on a pedestal around the world as a sign of new beginnings, new opportunity, new life on a planet constantly moving forward. Meanwhile, the sunset is seen as a much more somber and sorrowful sight, one that is associated with ends both of life and of the day. Now while there is some significance to this interpretation, I cannot help but feel that there is some hypocrisy in holding one event over the other, as one person’s sunset is both figuratively and literally another person’s sunrise. What many seem to forget in their self-centered view of the world is that there is no beginning or end that is not promptly followed or preceded by another’s end or beginning respectively.
What makes a new day so beautiful is not that it’s permanent, but that it is only temporary. The beauty is exemplified by its fleeting nature, by the fact that one was lucky enough to see it when it happened and never again in quite the same way. There will always be another day, another hope, and another life, another new start, even if it is not your own. Now that’s not to say that you should take joy in seeing the sight of a new day, but you should also take joy when seeing that very same day come to an end as well. Being reminded of the temporary nature of day and that no day will last forever is a sentiment I feel is seldom forgotten in this era of all encompassing technology. The end is the confirmation that whatever the day had in store, be it good or bad, it has ended and will do so with the same amount of grace as it had used when it first started.
Another common criticism of the sunset is not from the scene itself but from what comes after, the night. It is true that the night is somewhat more ominous in appearance compared to the visibility provided by the daylight, but it should be exemplified the significance that the night provides to people as it gives us the opportunity to see all before us not as it is but as it could be. In the dark of the night, the imagination is free to fill in the voids left in front of our very eyes. While some may use this chance to fill these voids with fears and horrors of the mind, it is nothing more than an illusion. There is nothing in the dark not already there in the light. Anyone should feel free to consider the world at night no different as the world in light, that is to say a world which has much to offer as one has to give.
I am proud to count myself as one who lives in the land of the setting sun, as one who sees beauty in the end of the day and in the night which follows. This may not be an opinion or belief which is shared by many, but it is an opinion which I feel deserved to be mentioned at least once for anyone to read and judge as they see fit. I fear not the actions of others or the challenges they may put before me, for I know when all is said and done, the day shall end, there shall come the night, and soon the new day will appear ready to start the entire process once more in a way that it never has before.