I can feel December 21st approaching.

That’s the winter solstice, which is also the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.  (Although it’s neither the day for the latest sunrise or the earliest sunset, for reasons having to do with the tilt of the earth on its axis, our oblong orbit around the sun and our speed of orbit — find the science here.)

I don’t mind the long nights, but right around this time each year I realize I’ve been missing something.

Sunset.

Sedona

The sun is still setting each day, obviously — but since it’s down by 4:30 p.m. where I live, I’m almost always missing it.

Now, I realize that my appreciation of sunsets is about as unusual as my fondness for adorable kittens or my peaceful feelings when I’m near the sea.

The Oregon Coast

But perhaps a travel writer’s predilections don’t always have to be quirky?  And besides, I’ve always felt a special fondness for the setting sun. Growing up, my 24th floor apartment gave me a great view of New York City’s pollution-enhanced 1980s sunsets. Like grandma’s cooking, nothing has ever truly compared.

Although some of these that I’ve experienced in my travels have come very close.

The Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania