I’ve long said I don’t visit Hawai‘i for the beach. My trips are more centered around seeing friends and experiencing the culture and hospitality any way I can. Yet somehow, I still end up near the ocean’s edge. At the very least, I am yet another moth fixated on the sun as it goes for its nightly dip.
When I left my home state of Texas for New York City nearly a decade ago, more than one person scoffed that I may never see the sun kiss the horizon again. As an editorial art director and graphic designer, perhaps I’ve become inclined to notice certain things, including the sun, in a particular way. But my move simply afforded me new and welcomed perspectives of its descent, behind the downtown skyline from my first apartment in Brooklyn Heights or the supposedly bad views of adjacent Manhattan office buildings where I spent most of my days. Even the beams and slivers of light I encountered indoors or as I walked the city’s streets would often stop me in my tracks. Then there was the unique and everyday beauty of a sunset from One World Trade Center overlooking the Hudson River. I suppose New York City is where my new chase began, with eyes fixated on the facades, reflections, and importantly, the imperfections, each highlighted by the setting sun.
Honolulu, however, is different. As often as I visit, gazing at the setting sun and its spectrum of effects never gets old. There’s an undeniable spirit and strength in this experience on the islands. Once the sun begins to dip, I also consider the kaleidoscope of color around me. The architecture on O‘ahu’s south shore can be extremely beautiful and inspiring, or intrusive and mundane, but altogether more interesting when seen in a new light. Honolulu, with a mere slice of the architectural presence of Manhattan, has its own influences and oddities: the window-encased buildings often more vibrantly hued, neutral toned structures which reflect vivid streaks of orange, and most typically with a swaying palm tree nearby. But what is most important is that there are fewer of them between you and that big ball of fire.