Four years ago I took the 31 day sunset challenge and committed myself to taking in the sun’s descent each and every day without fail from the 1st to 31st.

The rules I made up for myself because I could find none to read. But I think it is as simple as being there for dusk, taking it in and documenting it somehow. I looped through four nearby waterside locations, mostly beaches and one active dock, and I only once went further than a few kilometers from my house. All except that one time were by bike. I think as long as you can see the sun’s descent behind the horizon, whether it is the same place or a different one is not important. That you stop, drop and behold is.

The camera was a natural companion for me but a sketch book, note book or yoga mat would have been equally reflective. As I caught each sunset on camera, I noticed the photographs from beginning to end showed an evolving eye. What I looked for over the course of each twilight changed; I became less fascinated by the golden globe slipping beneath the horizon, and more interested in how the shifting light transformed objects and landscapes. For thirty-one days I never left the honeymoon phase, and it quickly locked into a habit that didn’t wear thin. How none were ever the same stoked a daily excitement for what the dusk would reveal.

August on the west coast is a good month for it as you have the chance for the driest sunsets (I only experienced rain twice), and all happen post-dinner (perfect time for a bike ride). The daily ritual of studying the vistas and tracing the light energized the entire month. I had always seen one month challenges as light-weight commitments to changing something temporarily as opposed to adding something permanently. But this challenge left a mark on me. It brought in a little spiritual romance and opened the door to a deeper appreciation for the power of the golden hour. Unlike a 31 day yoga challenge or mediation commitment, this one was truly about you being there and you deciding what the doing was. You determined both its merit, meaning and reward. For thirty-one days you just give yourself the space to show up, a chance to go on a date with magic and cultivate a daily habit of adventure and routine all in the same ritual.

Sunset Challenge Tips
  • Activity can be anything, yoga, playing a song, meditation, one ritual action you readapt everyday for 30 days at sunset
  • Do bring a beverage
  • Look at your farmers almanac when the driest days can be found if you are fair weather lover
  • Don’t let the rain discourage you, make sure you have a good size umbrella and enjoy being out when fewer folks are
  • Save the food for before or after. Unless eating is part of the ritual let the focus be own the activity
  • Tell your friends. Not only are you letting people know you are busy at that time but you may end with some company too!

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