Chasing Sunsets

I am missing the sunsets.

And it’s so much more than that.

I miss the pace of life and the simplicity of Haiti.

I miss no electricity and afternoons of stillness and quiet to recover from the day with nothing else to do but sit on the second story porch and look out at the mountains behind port au prince as the sun painted it’s way down to the ocean.

I wasn’t chasing then. I wasn’t chasing the sunset. I was forced, for a time.

Forced by the lack of distractions, the lack of busy, the lack of hustling. The lack of electricity, the lack of good internet (or any at all), the lack of obsession with social media and being connected. The many things that the ‘modern world’ has to offer are the very things sucking away our souls, my soul.

In Haiti, I sat on the porch for hours in the afternoon, exhausted from the heat, reeling from the scorching days’ events that kept me running. I sat in a plastic lawn chair or fell asleep across a yoga mat. I worked out if I was really ambitious, but that was rare. Mostly I would sit. Talk to friends if they were around. Fight with the inconsistent internet, trying to talk to someone, connect with someone. Try to understand my new world by explaining it to someone else. Until watching the sunset became a love, a tradition, an enjoyment, a necessity, a part of life.

Eventually, I picked up pen and paper or computer, and wrote down the new world I was experiencing and the new me that was emerging out of the sweat and tears and laughs and newness of all things around me.

There was a forced stillness.

A forced quiet.

A forced reflection.

A simplicity of life.

A lack of distractions. A quiet. Watching the sunset. Watching the evening storms during rainy season, eyes flinching as the lightning rods pierced the pitch black sky. And before I knew it, the forced change became a new normal.

I am missing those quieter days. Yes, they were chaotic and full, in different ways.

Because Western society is easier in a lot of ways, it feels like we must fill it to the brim with distractions and unnecessary chaos and worry and expectation and work and hustle. We’ve been given such an immense gift to live in a country of prosperity and opportunity and we’re wasting our moments, trapped in the madness of busy, barely noticing a beautiful sunset on the way home from work or to a meeting.

During an especially confusing trip ‘home’ (the United States) from Haiti in the summer of 2016, I was staying at a friend’s apartment for a few days. I was lost and lonely and confused and had no sense of my world or self. I glanced out a window and realized it was that holy time of day; the time when the sky is painted. I frantically tried to figure out how I could watch the sunset, sit and watch, appreciate it, gain some sense of normalcy or routine, desperately trying to feel centered.

I grabbed the keys and made my way through the obnoxiously large apartment building, climbing stairs and finally came to the top floor parking deck. I took a deep breath and let it out. There it is.

Behind the concrete jungle of Dallas, TX, I was able to see the sun setting. I sat down on the ground and thought I am crazy...and I want to spend the rest of my life chasing sunsets, drinking in the beauty of creation, stopping long enough to take a deep breath, and appreciate the beauty of life.

photo credit: me. August, 2016. Onaville, Haiti.

photo credit: me. August, 2016. Onaville, Haiti.