Tegan Louis-Puttick

It’s winter. Daylight hours are few, and most of them are spent inside because we’re all somewhere on a scale of pretty busy to I’m-one-spilt-coffee-away-from-meltdown-busy. Not to mention, most fingers and toes would rather be somewhere with central heating instead of out enduring the harsh winds that cut straight through your new Puffa. How many times have you made your way through an afternoon and suddenly, without you noticing, the skies have gone dark? You walk back from the library wondering where the day went, and unthinkingly slip straight into night.

Sometimes the skies are stunning, fiery tributes to the day gone by

 After my first few weeks following this pattern, a cheeky streak of pink in a dusky sky caught my attention through a window and I suddenly realisedI hadn’t watched a sunset since arriving in Cambridge. Living an outdoorsy life at home, I frequently catch sunset just by chance. A series of shockingly beautiful canvases set over moors and cliffs and sea had become something I’d almost taken for granted. Determined to catch a Cambridge sunset for the first time, I cycled back to college twenty minutes earlier than usual. I arrived in time to see the sun sink below the trees, leaving trails of tangerine and grapefruit pink to frame the day with a gentle caress. Instead of feeling worried that I could be - should be - working, or exercising, or having a pint with mates, I felt content. Taking the time to watch the transition between light and dark requires only a simple choice, and gives the simplest and purest of pleasure.

 Since then, I’ve tried to catch sunset whenever I can. Sometimes dragging friends along the way, sometimes alone; sometimes the skies are stunning, fiery tributes to the day gone by, and others are aesthetically average grey-scales. You come to realise that there’s a myriad of reasons why catching sunset is a good idea, and not just because it’s pretty and might look good on your Instagram story.

By physically watching the day wind down, time becomes more palpable, and less of a hostile foe to be fought with revision schedules and alarm clocks

Sunsets are never the same.Even if you see them from the one spot every single day, you will never see two alike. In a world where mundanity risks becoming a dominating force, this reminds you that change is always happening, and there’s so much beauty in that. Maybe you’ll start noticing the little differences and unique moments in daily life, too.

It’s a way to take time out, and just breathe.When you have 1001 things to do, the idea of stopping for twenty minutes to do something that has no measurable value seems absurd. But how much work would you really have done in twenty minutes? Give yourself time to enjoy a moment purely for the sake of it, without thinking about what it might bring for your future. Think about it as a way to feed that immeasurable, intangible part of you that needs more than a 2:1 to thrive.

Tegan Louis-Puttick

Time out, but also a sense of time.Without seeing the natural ways that the world shows the passing of hours, days, and seasons, time runs away with you. There never seems to be enough of it. By physically watching the day wind down, time becomes more palpable, and less of a hostile foe to be fought with revision schedules and alarm clocks. Also, every sunset you watch brings you one step closer to summer, and you truly experience the excitement of days getting longer and air getting warmer.

Use the sunset to resolve negative feelings that pile up during the day. If that means sending a message to the person who left you feeling less than peachy earlier, then do it. Gather up the stresses of the day - those lecture notes you spilt coffee on, or the fact that you left your laundry in the washing machine and will inevitably lose three socks - and imagine them sinking over the horizon alongside the sun. I love letting myself feel tiny as I am reminded how big and beautiful the natural world is; it gives you a sense of perspective and suddenly your worries don’t seem quite so pressing.

Finally - go with a friend.Share that moment with them (instead of a pint or lecture notes) and pass on the advice - catch as many sunsets as you can. You always have time, even if you think you don’t.


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Top tip: If you have a pal in Churchill, ask them to take you up the Moler at sunset. Best spot in town without a doubt!

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