During January we visited the tropical island of Maui in Hawaii. With our friends, the Tarowskys, we rented a condo in Kihei that was just a few hundred yards back from the west facing beach. On day 2 we ambled down at the end of the day to watch the sunset. On the beach and in the park alongside it many others had gathered, with folding chairs or mats to sit on, olives and Mai Tai cocktails, champagne, beer or even complete picnic feasts. We were all there to witness the spectacular sight of the sun sinking into the Pacific Ocean. As we watched, there was a tangible sense of a community, a shared experience, and apparently, as it finally disappears, sometimes the sun even gets a round of applause. That might seem an odd way to acknowledge a completely everyday thing but we all benefit from recognising and valuing the remarkable, it helps to keep life in perspective and I suspect that ancient memories stir the sun worshippers deep inside us all.
Later in January we were staying in a beautiful Air B’n’B in Bonito Springs, Florida, this time a few miles from the beach, too far for an evening stroll. However, on our last night there, our delightfully friendly, helpful and welcoming hostess, Jo, insisted on driving us to see “One of the best sunsets in the world”. She dropped us off, thrust a paper bag into our hands and said she’s be back in 40 minutes. Inside the bag was some fresh crusty bread and 2 spill proof cups of red wine and we were able to join a different audience, including some Pelicans fishing for their supper, and toast the same sun as it disappeared, this time into the Gulf of Mexico. Jo was right, it was a great sunset. As we sat there in our t-shirts we were amused to see some people, presumably locals, wrapped up warm in hoodies and blankets against the chill evening air at 65F (18C).
On our return we found logs burning in the firepit, Jo’s husband Tony cooking Bratwurst and the table all set for us to join them and son Luke for an evening. They really were the best sort of Air B’n’B hosts! Throughout our stay they were keen to tell us about all the good and interesting things about their home town and the area. They obviously loved their home and were keen to share its everyday yet special features. Sometimes it takes a visitor or a stranger to make one value home.
A few days after getting home we made a short drive, one we often make, to the pebble beach at Cold Knap, Barry. Usually we go there for a walk but this time we went a little later and watched that reliable old sun sink over the Bristol Channel. The spectacle isn’t as certain as it is in Hawaii and Florida, but choose your day and it can be, and if its cold you can sit in the car with the heater on and watch!
It’s good to value your own remarkable everydays.