I’ve seen over one hundred sunsets over the last seven years while sitting at the Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia. Tourists from all over the world flock to the Sea organ, an art installation built into the Adriatic Sea. As you approach the Sea Organ, you see steps that seem to take you right into the waves and then you hear it. The artist made an organ powered by the pressure from the waves. Click HERE to see it in action.
People pilgrimage to this spot with loved ones, wine, beer and cameras about an hour before the sunset to watch the event unfold. Alfred Hitchcock once called Zadar’s sunset the best in the world. We enjoy it with strangers and feel community – a “Collective Effervescence” as Émile Durkheim described.
I sit amidst these crowds to watch the sunset, BUT I wait. The crowds leave and I remain because I know the secret. The sky after the sunset is the true beauty. It’s filled with surprise, vibrancy, dramatic shades and shapes. It can’t be rushed. I’m in it until the sky turns dark.
Last week while in Zadar, I watched the sunset and stayed for the aftershow and I found myself tearing up. I thought, “this is like life.” So often we achieve success and turn immediately to the next task without noticing the new textures and shapes present in our lives. We don’t see what we created. We don’t witness the subtle changes and the legacy that we create. We don’t slow down enough to notice the gradient shifts, the courage we embody, the patience we learn and the capacity for love expands. We miss our own beauty.
I remember sitting at the Sea Organ next to a group of people several years aso. They were prepared for the sunset. They even brought a drone to capture the images. The sun set, but the sky didn’t light up to their expectations. I heard one of the onlookers say, “Well, that was a bust” as they got up to walk to the next destination on their list. I stayed and witnessed one of the most beautiful post-sunset sightings of blue, pink and orange. They left too soon. They were in a rush. They were there to photograph the beauty, to consume it. Had they been there to experience the moment, process and rhythm, they would’ve seen what I saw that night.
The ideal weight, money in the bank account, new job, trip to a dream location. Those are the sunsets, the moment, a date on the calendar, an event to commemorate.
What else is there?
What did you learn?
How did you stretch?
Who are you now?
How has the post-sunset shift made all the difference?
Don’t leave too early.