Song for a Blue Sunset

Header image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Texas A&M University

Like everyone else, I’ve started my pro/con list for traveling to Mars.


  • Forced long term travel.
  • Close quarters with near strangers.
  • No breathable air.
  • Certain death.


  • Reduced gravity.
  • No mosquitoes.
  • Blue sunsets.

That last one was verified in striking fashion by the latest photo from Curiosity Rover – an image of a cobalt disc poised over the crisp outline of a mountain range that only happens to be Martian.

It immediately hit me that the first Earthlings to set up camp there would have the opportunity to write a batch of songs about topics that have long been over-explored back home with the distinct advantage of a fresh set of unique experiences.

A blue sunset, for instance.

Then, somewhat less immediately, it hit me that I could only think of three songs that were specifically about a sunset.

  1. Sunrise, Sunset, of course. But it’s a shared billing.
  2. Canadian Sunset is obvious, but it has as many words as Mars has Canadians.
  3. Red Sails in the Sunset comes to mind but it has too much longing for home to be an effective Martian anthem.

Fortunately, the Kinks took care of everything when they did this:

And the beauty part – the song is already about a pronounced distaste for crowds and a fondness for chilly evenings in close company with a special friend – and both are Mars journey prerequisites!

Although the “special friend” is an accessory you  will have to pack or make along the way.

As far as the song is concerned, all you have to do to Martianize it is substitute “What a blue” for “Waterloo”.

Done and done. Going to Mars may not be so difficult after all!

Recall a remarkable sunset.

34 thoughts on “Song for a Blue Sunset”

  1. i saw the link below to sky blue pink with a heavenly border which in tirn led to a link to the dale and jim ed radio broadcast at st olaf.
    what a great way to start the day. kind of takes you bak to 5 years ago when losing the lgms was fresh in our minds and radio heartland was even more recent and dale would actually talk on kfai on occasion.

    sunsets are the stuff dreams are made of. great ones take you away from whatever you are doing, the first time i was in california and forgot to see the sun over the pacific was breathtaking. it is like a movie of a sunset on the ocean but there i was.
    hawaii is magic everywhere you turn and then the sun goes down and wow…. my first night in ireland was on the west coast overlook the aran islands listening to irish music at a bar in lisdovarna and trying to figure out how uilleann pipes work. here is the sound of my first irish sunset. i didnt know the pipes existed that you pumped with you arms and i thought the piper was practicing for when he was ready to blow but i thought i was channeling the sound because i could hear it so clearly in my mind. maybe it was the guiness.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You do this so often I should take it for granted, tim, but I cannot. Once again you give us stream of consciousness poem that glories in unexpected detail and intellectual sharp turns. You have created a joyful art form that only you can access.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I think if you click the star by “Like” again, it will take away your first “Like.”

          When I’m reading the blog on my phone, every time I try to look at who likes a comment, I end up liking it myself. If it’s one of my comments, I then get an email informing me that I liked one of my own comments.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    My Pros and Cons list about going to Mars is very short and exists only of Cons–outer space is not my thing. It consists of “you must leave earth’s gravity field so don’t do it.” I don’t care how beautiful the sunset. Sunsets everywhere are so wonderful–sort of a daily gift no matter where you are. Various locations seem to have idiosyncratic sunsets–in Iowa I love the con trails that light up with everything else. When the smoke from western fires drifts our way, it makes a beautiful sunset here.

    OT–anyone with Netflix, be sure you catch the new “Grace and Frankie” with Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston, and Martin Sheen. It is a hilarious thing of beauty about the last stages of life–a sunset of sorts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I join you, Jacque, in fearing travel to Mars. On earth we have an arrangement that goes well or badly when you get to know another person intimately over a period of years. It is called marriage, and it begins in a dreamy fog of hope and often ends in bitter disgust. But if you are in a spaceship you cannot change your mind and decide to travel with a new gang of fellow travelers. It would be like marriage with no hope of divorce and second chances.

      Thanks for the movie tip. I owe you more than I can say for your past tips of good viewing.


  3. Pretty sure I have told the story before about having to watch a sunset for a lighting class assignment in college. How do you take notes of a sunset so you can try to reproduce it? Really, the first hard part was finding an evening with a few clouds – better sunsets happen when there are a few clouds in the sky – and I also had a couple free hours to sit and watch the sky. I didn’t wind up with a night with quite enough clouds, but it was a lovely night. Plunked myself down on the bank of the Mississippi River where Summit Ave ends with a box of pastels and lots of paper. Because I had walked there from Macalester, I didn’t stay until full dark, so turned back periodically on my walk home to check the sky again. Besides the oddball class assignment, what made it memorable was how peaceful it was compared to so many other days in my college years. Just me, by myself, at the river. Feeling a little self-conscious.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. When doing the lighting lecture to the theater class I tell them to go watch sunrises or sunsets. And hope a director never asks you to replicate one onstage because I simply can’t do it justice.

      Our house is in a valley with a hill to the west so my memorable sunsets have been while out in the fields… watching the sunset while riding around in a tractor.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Our most stunning sunsets occur when there are forest fires in Canada or Montana and the smoke blows east and obscure the sky and color the sunsets a blood red. Terrifying beauty, I suppose, and not very peaceful.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. What kind of snarky remark is that, tim? Twenty lashes with a wet noodle for you.

        Barb must returning home right about now. I didn’t really keep track of the dates, but it seems like a long time since we’ve heard from her.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. barb is totally sincere. havnt you ever noticed how she likes everyones comment. i have one child who is just pleasant
          my other kids may call me snarky for saying so but its just true

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Good morning. When we lived in Clarks Grove, where the land is mostly flat and there are many wide open areas, we were in a good place to see sunsets. At our new home in Minneapolis sunsets are not as easy to see. I saw many remarkable sunsets at our old home and I do sometimes see fairly remarkable ones here if they are not too low in the sky. The best sunset I can remember was observed sitting along the East shore of Lake Michigan and looking out across the wide expanse of the lake.


  6. Where I grew up on the west side of the hills above Lake Superior we had wonderful sunsets, made more wonderful by often marking the end of a long farm workday.Sunsets in haying season were hard-earned. I remember sundown light turned blue by filtering through the thick frost on the barn windows.
    When we lived on Lake Superior we had good sunrises and moonrises, but no sunsets.
    Here on the the prairie above the river valley we have wonderful sunsets, except for the power lines which cut across the view. I have about 100 very good photos I have taken in the last two years of sunsets, some with thunderstorms and lightning in them. I have done about eight pastels by combining photos. We also get splendid clouds, which I also photograph.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OT: Up to Chaska today for Sandra to see a doctor. Contrary to our norm, we will not visit the Arb on today’s trip. When my son dropped off his son at the sitter’s today, the child said “Bye, Daddy.” Which is the first time he has called him daddy.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. I’ll be predictable: the best sunsets of my life were those we witnessed from our Lake Superior cabin. Because of the way our shoreline was positioned, the sun came up out of sight behind us, but we sure had spectacular sunsets, night after night.

    One that I remember was when a dear old fishing buddy, Jan, came up to visit us with her new husband. They had a big baggie filled with potent grass, although my erstwife and I chose scotch. We all sat on a rocky ledge overlooking the sandstone quarry on our land and admired a sunset that combined cerise clouds with cerulean blue skies. I mentioned the DNR was encouraging folks to put up bat houses. Jan asked how a bat house was any different from a bird house. I explained that with a bat house the door was near the top and all the pictures inside were upside down. Jan laughed so hard I worried she would fall off the ledge into the quarry. Of course, what made me funny was not wit but weed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Morning all. My Mars list would be very short. Pro:

    Two of my favorite sunset memories involve water. One was in Key West; I didn’t see the green flash, but the sun sinking down on the ocean horizon was spectacular. The other sunset was on a catamaran in Hawaii. So many shades of pink and orange and purple along w/ the blue sky and water and the white clouds. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gosh, how do you even begin to recall a specific sunset? No two identical, some are just magical.

    Having said that, sun rises and sun sets over the Sea of Cortez are memorable. Our little casita on the beach was situated so that you could walk out on a balcony facing the ocean. As the sun came up over Tiburon Island, we’d stand, coffee cups in hand, and watch the dolphins on their way to breakfast. In the evening we’d sit on the patio bellow, cocktail in hand, and watch the sun slide down behind Alcatraz Island, turning the sky yellow to gold in the process. My screensaver on my computer is a picture of one such sunset.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I was living in a small house with two friends. We had a very long driveway that came up from the dirt road and then forked at the top of the hill; one fork went to our house and the other fork went – to a meadow. There may have been an empty house there. Or not. This was so long ago I don’t remember that detail. Anyway, there was a great sunset and we didn’t have a good view of it, so we ran down our driveway to the meadow, yelling and whooping with excitement. Then we stood there and watched the sunset. We may have jumped up and down a bit because those clouds!!!! they were something else.

    Sounds kinda weird now, but it was a lot of fun. and i guess i remember the running and group excitement more than the actual sunset.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There was a lovely sunset one day a few years ago when I was driving back home from a memorial service in Wisconsin. The sky was very overcast, except for a ribbon of blue sky right over the horizon. The sun made a brief appearance in that little window of blue before sinking below the horizon, turning the cloud cover rosy. Didn’t have a camera, alas.


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