Reverence for the Golden Hour

Hercules stealing the golden apples from the G...

The California coastline offers beautiful views of the golden sun taking a final splash into the ocean where the sky meets the sea. When I am near the ocean, I never miss this golden hour.

Sun sets early in our part of the world. By 8:00 P.M. the final sliver of the big show is all but over, and the day’s activity on the sand comes to a close as a steady wind whips sunburned bodies and fatigue sets in.

Each time I sit in reverential quiet I think of how our day is coming to a close as the other half of the globe is experiencing sunrise.

The Greeks and Romans had their own understanding of cycles, seasons, weather…sunsets.

The Hesperides, goddesses of the evening and responsible for the golden light of sunset, tended the golden apples presented as wedding presents from Gaia to the sky-gods Zeus and Hera. The glorious sunset was created to celebrate the wedding of the sky-gods.

Tonight’s sunset brought to mind Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series. I find a whisper of the Hesperides in her poem.

Sea Sunset

A gallant city has been builded far
In the pied heaven,
Bannered with crimson, sentinelled by star 
Of crystal even;
Around a harbor of the twilight glowing,
With jubilant waves about its gateways flowing 

A city of the Land of Lost Delight,
On seas enchanted,
Presently to be lost in mist moon-white 
And music-haunted;
Given but briefly to our raptured vision,
With all its opal towers and shrines elysian. 

Had we some mystic boat with pearly oar
And wizard pilot,
To guide us safely by the siren shore 
And cloudy islet,
We might embark and reach that shining portal
Beyond which linger dreams and joys immortal. 

But we may only gaze with longing eyes
On those far, sparkling
Palaces in the fairy-peopled skies, 
O’er waters darkling,
Until the winds of night come shoreward roaming,
And the dim west has only gray and gloaming.  

(Lucy Maud Montgomery)

Before I say goodnight for the evening, I’ll share a few photos I took between 7 and 8 PM. I focused on how others were enjoying the golden hour.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tomorrow is our last full day of Newport Beach. I need to get to bed so I can rise early enough to make the most of it.

You’ll note I don’t take a lot of sunrise photos.

Photo Credit Wikipedia: Hercules stealing the golden apples from the Garden of the Hesperides. Detail of The Twelve Labours Roman mosaic from Llíria (Valencia, Spain).

46 thoughts on “Reverence for the Golden Hour

    1. Thank you, Kate. We have had a wonderful time at the ocean’s edge. I have taken 1,000 pictures and simply filled each day with as many memories as we could possibly drink in! We head for home in the morning..I’m just grateful for this one week. ox

  1. you really made the most of that golden hour! the photos are glowing, sharing the richness of colour and beach/sea with us all, thank you debra 🙂 hope your last day is simply perfect!

    1. We did have a wonderful day today, Christine. I can honestly say we made the most of our week. I’m glad you enjoyed our photos of the golden hour. I wish I could bottle some of the wonderful beach air and surf to hold me over until the next time. 🙂

    1. Charlie, that dog was totally enjoying the sunset. I was walking on the boardwalk and came up to him and he was staring at the sun, almost squinting, but letting the sun just bathe his face. I wondered at the idea that a dog was taking in every last ray and almost worshipful in his demeanor, and many people were weren’t paying a bit of attention. How amazing is that? ox

      1. Yes, have LOTS of photos! It was a quick trip for us, but I took in as much as I could!
        We traveled off the beaten path a bit–Loved Half Moon Bay (seriously, I could move there in a heart beat)
        On the way back from Sonoma, we traveled a little road through farm country and found Wild Flower Bread near Freemont.
        Oh, the beauty of that place! The sights and smells–the sweet garden out back. I think it was the highlight of the trip! Sadly, I think I was out of my mind with bakery goodness, and didn’t even take one photo there! Darn, I’m going back sometime soon I hope!
        Have a lovely weekend,

  2. A sunrise will always struggle to match a sunset… a sunset is just the way the world lets you know to wake tomorrow as there is to be another sunset.. beautiful…

    1. Thank you, Rob. I am so happy that the photos resonate with you. I know how much you appreciate the beauty of a lovely landscape and the absolute wonder we can feel when we focus on nature’s gifts. To me, the ocean is my best route to total relaxation. 🙂

    1. I am very grateful we can have this one week each year. I try not to be greedy! 🙂 We leave for home in the morning, and I’ll have 1,000 photos to look at for my personal enjoyment. I do wish I could bottle some of the wonderful salty air and the sound of the surf. I think you understand my love of the coast. The ocean does work wonders on stress, doesn’t it Nancy? ox

  3. How very lovely this is, Debra. I wish I had seen it last night, for today it is raining and we won’t have such a sunset. Duh? We won’t have such a sunset anyways as we aren’t at Newport Beach or on the west coast, so, appreciate this even more so.
    I enjoyed the Montgomery poem. I have a very dear friend who is just now returning from Prince Edward Island – and all things Anne – and “fairy-peopled skies”.

    Enjoy your day – if not the sunrise.

    1. I’m so glad you appreciated the Montgomery poem, Penny. I would love a trip toe Prince Edward Island. I do find the sunsets over the ocean the perfect close to a busy day. We haven’t had what I’d call real rain, but we have had some sprinkles and threatening skies. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about that since we fully expected total sunshine, but nothing ever mars my appreciation of the time here. It may be a little hard to pull up stakes tomorrow morning. Oh well..home again, with a full camera disk. 🙂

  4. Anonymous

    I love your heart, always. Your words sang to me in bliss this morning. Beautiful. Lisa and I head to the other coast next week. On the shore of Maine I will think of you. 🙂

    1. There is something magical about the light over the ocean at sunset here in Southern California. No matter what the day has been like, marine layers and fog always lifts by late afternoon. It really is a golden hour. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. Thank you. 🙂

    1. I spent most of a morning on Balboa by myself earlier in the week, Lori. I just walked up and down the streets enjoying the little homes and pocket gardens. I just love the way individuals “outfit” their postage-sized front yards. And yes, there are those wonderful Balboa Bars. 🙂 ox

  5. Debra, I always see the beach differently through your eyes. During the golden hour, I might be able to walk without worrying about sunburn. 🙂 It looks like you’ve had a glorious vacation. I hope it has given you many opportunities to breathe lighter.

  6. Truly a golden post! It’s such a wonderful experience to witness the end of a day, to see the sun dip below the horizon — and your post truly captured the essence of light. Thanks!

  7. You show in a beautiful way how to be less stressed, Debra. Thanks for this!
    It’s great that you could enjoy Newport Beach so much. I loved reading your thoughts about the Golden Hour. And thanks for including the poem and the pictures that show how people enjoy the Golden Hour.

  8. This was a treat. I watched the slideshow three times as it’s awesome to catch a glimpse of how others including the dog are enjoying the beauty of a sunset. The poem was a nice touch!

  9. My goodness, breathelighter…What a stunning slide show… The beach volley callers… The single and serene fishing pole… and my fave was the surfer… Excellent capture indeed in the Golden Hour before sunset. 🙂

  10. Time With Thea

    What a brilliant idea to choose and hour of the day and capture it with a variety of photographs from different perspectives. I so enjoyed your slide show. The images were beautiful! ~Thea

  11. There is nothing better than that time of day at the ocean. I am totally jealous of the yoga class. How utterly perfect!!! I hope you had a fabulous vacation Debra. 🙂

  12. Such a lovely post, Debra, and so fitting for the Golden Hour. Here and in Michigan, the Sun rises over the water and, for me, has an entirely different “feel”. It’s every bit as beautiful, though, and whether we’re saying hello or goodbye, the Sun peaking over a watery horizon is a real treat to see. Thanks for taking the time to gather and share your evening photos with us.

  13. That lovely post, with its beautiful images and that lovely poem, really did my soul good, Debra. I’m glad you had such a wonderful week at the beach.

    Your early sunset reminds me of how odd it felt, on my one Caribbean holiday, to have the sun setting soon after 7 in mid-summer. Here in northern France, the sun is still not setting until after 9.30, and I would so miss the long summer evenings if i lived closer to the Equator.

    1. One reason I mentioned how early our sun sets is because I know how long some of the evenings are in other parts of the world. Even my cousins in San Francisco always comment on how early the sun sets in Southern California. I know I would love a longer evening! The only good thing that I can say is on a day when I need an excuse to go to bed early it’s easy to do so! I can’t imagine 9:30! I must admit to a little bit of envy. 🙂

      1. in that case perhaps I shouldn’t mention that at midsummer on the north coast of Scotland the sun doesn’t set until almost 11pm and there is still afterglow in the sky at midnight! In the northern Isles of Shetland it barely gets dark at all then and the nights are known as “white nights”. Mind you they pay for it at midwinter with less than 6 hours of daylight!

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