The Setting of the Sun

I was taking in the washing from the line last night after dinner, when I noticed that the light had taken on a really beautiful colour. I looked beyond our neighbour’s house and saw the Ochil Hills bathed in a burnished glow, and I suddenly got an urge to be up there among the grassy hummocks, the woody heather, the dilapidated drystane dykes and the skittish sheep. I wanted to be bathed in that light too, and I wanted it so badly I could hardly think straight. I ran back in the house and quickly got the kids into their boots, grabbed our scarves, gloves and jackets, jumped in the car and began the 15 min journey which would take us up into the heart of the hills.

We drove along the twisty, single-track road until we came to a layby, where we parked the car, before we all tumbled out and started running up the grassy hillside. The wind was biting, and soon my ears were burning with the cold, and the tips of my fingers poking through my fingerless gloves began to turn red and numb. Wrapping my scarf about my head and shoving my hands deep in my pockets, we continued to set a brisk pace up the hillside to the summit, our bodies warming from the effort.

And then we arrived.

The light was that of liquid amber.

The air was so fresh and pure.

There was an enormity of sky.

And the whole experience was utterly breathtaking

Tree Silhouetted

Blue Sky After Sunset

Beyond the Grass

Enormity of Sky

Between the Clouds

What sight last took your breath away?


April 21, 2008. Environment, Photography.


  1. mrschili replied:

    I LOVE that you dropped everything for this (and that you shared it all with us).

  2. Roland Hesz replied:

    Lovely photos.

    Last sight to take my breath away…
    The truly, truly take away was a sad event, when some idiots in a crowd try to burn down my city.

    In a not so sad way, it was the moment when I traveled on the TGV from Paris to Hendaye, and I saw the ocean between the trees as we sped down the track. That was just, I don’t know.

    I just sat and gaped. I loved the sight.

  3. Anna replied:

    some recent moments that stopped me in my tracks: the pink bush that overnight burst into flower on the fence line, this morning’s fog in the park, the pair of wood thrushes that have inexplicably made my city lot their home for now, the sudden awareness of what a gift my children are …

  4. Terry Starbucker replied:

    Wow. Amy, thanks so much for sharing these photos. The “enormity of the sky” indeed!
    All the best,

  5. paragraphcity replied:

    I do like your end-of-post questions, Amy.
    My last breath-away sight: a late winter sun that melted snow on branches, though the air temp stayed well below freezing. Then a breeze took off the remaining snow and the hardwoods were left with marbles of ice threaded on twigs. The sun came careening off the ice and I thought “this is where Christmas tree ornaments come from.”

  6. On a Limb with Claudia replied:

    Gosh, Amy, I’d have to say the last moment was looking at your amazing pictures! Thank you for sharing them with us!

  7. wendikelly replied:

    Amy, every time I come here, I want to drop everything, grab my camera and just go.
    You are such an srtist with your camera.

  8. wonderwebby replied:

    I love how you wrote this piece. And not just the fact something took your breath away – you saw an opportunity to be part of something beautiful – and took it!

    Recently I decided NOT to go straight to the shops on a Saturday morning and bundled the kids into the car for a drive to the country. We just drove into the direction of the hills and ended up at a reserve we had never explored before. Some kayakers turned up and we watched them drop their kayaks into the river. It’s great to change the pace of the day sometimes and soak up the sights and sounds around us.

  9. Rhonda replied:

    The last sight to take my breath away: returning from a week away to find all the ornamental fruit trees in full bloom – whites, pinks, lavenders, bursting out all over.

  10. Ivanhoe replied:

    These are really beautiful! My latest would be carribean sunset from the cruise ship *sigh*

  11. Nicholas replied:

    The last sight to take my breath away was the last photo in that selection. Absolutely gorgeous!

  12. Zhu replied:

    Really nice! The light is beautiful… oh, I love sunsets!!

    I’m always frustrated because neighboring houses block my sunsets. I always get the beginning but not the end… Oh well, suburbs aren’t a great setting anyway.

  13. cybill replied:

    I love how you just went with your feelings and dropped everything to go. Your children will grow up with a wonderful spirit of adventure with a mum like you!
    The last sight to take my breath away was watching my daughter (unknown to her) playing with her friends and she was so happy and laughing.

  14. Steven replied:

    Wonderful as ever, Amy. I can only repeat what all the other posts have already said. As a PhD student myself, I have let too many stunning sights pass me by. You’ve really inspired me to take a step back and recover a sense of perspective. Thank you.

  15. Karen Swim replied:

    Amy, I love that you seized the moment, grabbed your kids and enjoyed life. Too often we miss these moments. The last thing that took my breath away was the sight of my adorable 2 year old great nephew gleefully singing Twinkle Twinkle with hands in the air. The innocence and the purity of his joy was so moving.


  16. amypalko replied:

    I’m glad I did too, Mrschili!

    I love that you identified that breathtaking moments can be because of great beauty, but that they can also be caused by any other emotional event, Roland. Very moving…

    Thank you for sharing those beautiful word photographs, Anna. Extremely evocative.

    Glad you liked them, terry. I was really astonished by just how much sky there was all around me!

    Well, I really like your responses, Dale πŸ™‚ Your description of ice hanging from the trees is just magical.

    What a lovely comment to leave, Claudia. Thank you!

    Thank you, Wendikelly! I hope that is exactly what you do. I want the material that I post here to inspire others to go out there and engage, create and to inspire others in turn. Thank you for tapping into this blog’s purpose so intuitively πŸ™‚

    It’s great to do something different spontaneously, isn’t it, Wonderwebby? Shakes things up a bit and creates more opportunities for us to engage with the world around us.

    That sounds like a truly breathtaking sight, Rhonda. Just beautiful!

    I think we’re all terribly envious of that sight, Ivanhoe! Sounds totally blissful πŸ™‚

    Thank you, Nicholas. It certainly took my breath away too!

    I have that exact same frustration, Zhu, which is why we headed up into the hills – to get a clear view unhindered by rooftops, satellite dishes and the occasional lamp post!

    I really hope they do, Cybill. Kids have such potential for embracing adventure, but it’s something very hard to nurture whilst trying to keep them safe and secure. A child’s laughter is one of life’s great pleasures is it not?

    Thank you so much for that, Stephen. I’m so glad that what you’ve found here has inspired you not to let any more of those ‘stunning sights’ pass you by πŸ™‚

    It’s so easy to miss those moments, isn’t it Karen? Consequently, as soon as you notice one passing you by, you have to catch hold of those tail feathers and cling on for the ride!

  17. Toni replied:

    All of the sights took my breath away. Thank you for capturing those magical moments!

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