“Beautiful sunsets need cloudy skies”

Paulo Coelho

Eric ponders his first sail on SeaSea.

    It has been a year since my first time traveling to St. Thomas. Over time, even as short as a year, you sometimes have to fight with your memory to retain specific details, like time, places, those you were with, etc. One little recollection is usually all it takes to ignite memories. Those kinds are generally made dormant by the more critical and mundane thoughts at the forefront of daily routine. 

If you’re like me, you have a memory based on senses. There is usually a sight, a smell, a sound, a feeling, or a taste that pulls you back through time. A reminder of things in your life that have ranged from sweet and straightforward to bitter and complicated. It’s a natural mechanism we use to learn and better ourselves for many reasons. I’m by no means an expert on human behavior. I experience everything like all the rest but perhaps contemplate things to an extent beyond the average person a bit more. That might seem neurotic, but as someone who, self-admittedly, overthinks nearly every interaction with the world outside my mind, it’s practically unavoidable. 

To get back on track, sometimes, small details are elusive. I’ll even mention that cliche of people not being able to recall what they ate for Breakfast that morning because they are more focused on that day’s goals. Unfortunately, even much richer journeys are subject to that same thing. Sure, you’ll hold on to the highest points. The kind you capture in a photograph or maybe a souvenir. Still, even an adventure has things like Breakfasts, bathroom breaks, and sunsets.

Anywhere you are in the world, the same sun rises and falls every day for everyone. You can easily forget the delicate, miraculous balance it provides as it feeds our world light and warmth. That’s not as easily avoidable in the Virgin Islands.

Every evening, no matter where we were anchored or moored on St. Thomas, there was always a pause in everything we were doing to view the sunset. In whichever variation, whether it be falling beyond the blue, wavy horizon, behind a cliffside, or accompanied by a far-off raincloud, its pronounced, breathtaking majesty demands your attention despite the vantage point. 

That monotonous, everyday occurrence made a declaration to me to be recognized as a thing of beauty and an improbable miracle. Personal goals, ambitions, and desires momentarily took a back seat to the rest of the world that lived and thrived around me. During sunsets since, I’m reminded to think beyond myself and feel a connection to the world. Those few simple, fleeting moments help me to acknowledge the precious beauty of being alive. I find hope in the promise that the sun will set again and again, whether I’m available to acknowledge it.      

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