Sunrise and sunset by Melissa Martin

No matter what happens on planet Earth, the sun is sure to rise and the sun is sure to set. Every day and every night. Birth and death—sunrise and sunset. War and peace—sunrise and sunset. Love and hate—sunrise and sunset.

“The day of the sun is like the day of a king. It is a promenade in the morning, a sitting on the throne at noon, a pageant in the evening,” penned Wallace Stevens.

The sun is a celebrity, featured in myriad photos of engagements, weddings, and anniversaries. Songs, poems, and quotes are passionately written about the Sun.

“Sunrise, Sunset” is a popular wedding song from the musical Fiddler on the Roof written in 1964. The chorus: “Sunrise, sunset, Swiftly fly the years, One season following another, Laiden with happiness, And tears.”

The Beatles have two of the all-time favorite songs about the sun. “Good Day Sunshine” and “Here Comes the Sun” were both big hits.

John Denver crooned the well-liked tune titled “Sunshine On My Shoulders.”

The sun is an invited guest to picnics, outdoor parties, and camping trips. The Sun has made designer sunglasses famous. And females show off fashionable sundresses. Roll out the red carpet for the sun!

Why do the clocks spring forward or fall back in United States? Daylight Savings Time. The sun is the main character again.

Secrets of the Sun, a documentary by NOVA, gives the Sun top-billing.
I nominate the sun for a prestigious Oscar from the Academy Awards. Applause!

“The most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (ultraviolet B rays). This can happen very quickly, particularly in the summer…How much vitamin D is produced from sunlight depends on the time of day, where you live in the world and the color of your skin. The more skin you expose the more vitamin D is produced,” according to the Vitamin Council.

God or goddess representations of the sun can be found in recorded history. Early civilizations recognized the significance of the Sun.

“The sun is a star, a hot ball of glowing gases at the heart of our solar system…The connection and interactions between the Sun and Earth drive the seasons, ocean currents, weather, climate, radiation belts and aurorae.” That’s how vital the sun is for life on our planet.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory views our Sun in ten different wavelengths because each wavelength reveals different solar features. How cool is that! On Aug. 12, 2018, NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe mission set sail for the sun. How hot is that!

The Great American Solar Eclipse happened Aug. 21, 2017. It swept across the continental United States from Oregon to Georgia. I watched the Weather Channel and saw reporter Stephanie Abrams cry on camera over the eclipse. So sweet!

Sunny days. Rainy days. Cloudy days. Most people prefer the sunny days. Satchel Paige declared, “Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shine.” Yes, too much sun is a desert. And too much sun wrinkles the skin. But sunshine is medicine to change the mood.

In the younger years, I often slathered myself with oil and baked like a casserole in the backyard or on the beach. Nowadays, sunscreen is on my skin and a hat with a brim is on my head.

Do we take the sun for granted? As we work and play from dawn to dusk, do we stop and look up? How often do we pause and observe a sunrise or a sunset in our hurry-scurry lives?

On vacation, the nature-loving crowd hikes the canyons and climbs the mountains to stand in awe of the sun’s show. So surreal. The beach crowd soaks up rays and plays in the sand and surf. So fun.

Retired folks get up early and wait for the sun as the coffee brews. What a way to start the day.

In the olden and golden years, those with astuteness may watch the sun go up and come down—as the shadow of death comes nearer and nearer. “God, may I have one more sunrise with my loved ones?”

God made two great lights–the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night (Genesis 1:16, NIV). And that’s how essential the sun is to humanity—sunrise to sunset.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in US.