Toasting the Sunset

Look, quarantine sucks- especially for folks like us who want to get out, explore new areas, travel, and frankly, just not stay in the same place for a long time. I am not discounting the hardships of others who are ill, or have lost family or loved ones to this terrible pandemic, but in our case, where we are being super careful and keeping our distance, following the shelter-in-place order, quarantine definitely has its perks, when done correctly.

Before Gerry and I got married, and some after we were wed, we went through a time where we tried out various B&Bs around North Carolina. One that was near and dear to our hearts was one in Beaufort, North Carolina called, “Captain’s Quarters”. A lovely couple owned it, but the host, the husband, was Captain Dick Collins. He had been a pilot in the navy much earlier, and Capt. Dick, as he preferred to be called, was an elderly gentleman, so very kind, and full of life! He helped secure reservations at The Spouter when there were none, and guided us on some of the less tourist-y things to do, that were gems, and couldn’t be missed! Once we settled into the home, he would tell us, “now be sure to be back around 7:15pm when we will sit on the porch and toast the sunset”. We sort of thought he was kidding, but we returned around that time to find that he had wine waiting for us; we sat on the wrap around porch, chatting about our day, and literally, toasted the sunset. We found it so endearing, that we started the routine of doing so, toasting the sunset, once we returned home, and on our travels.

When our ventures to Key West began to ramp up, we soon realized that toasting the sunset was a tradition, no, a requirement, each day, down at Mallory Square. It is, by far, the best sunset you will find, at least in the United States. Buskers line up along the water, playing music for tips, people sit along the edge of the gulf waters, and pile into bars and restaurants on the dock, waiting to toast the magical Key West sunset. It is, most definitely, our favorite place to toast the sunset. It is where we met one of our fave musicians, an acoustic guitarist and vocalist, Mustafa. You can listen to a bit of his story, and the sunset story in Key West, here. A close second, is the docks of Beaufort, NC and third, on the waterfront of Washington, NC. Not to be discounted though, is the sunset from a cruise in the middle of the ocean. Wow! There is something about a sun setting over water that is breathtaking and can leave you with so much gratitude.

Sunset in Key West at Mallory Square

“Right now, the occasion is the sunset, you don’t compete with the sunset. You complement it, at most.”

-Mustafa, Key West Musician

Back to quarantine, and those perks I talked about. We have been fortunate to have been able to work from home, but you have a lot more time on your hands, since there is no commute to an office, or to clients. Once the day is over, you realize that there are a lot more hours in the day than you could have imagined. Some things we have done, while still keeping our distance from others, is taking walks with Betty White. In fact, because we are moving less during the work day, we have the goal of making sure, using our Fitbits, that we get our 10k steps in a day, which is been nice. We’ve also had morning coffee or tea together before getting our day started, tending to plants in the morning, but being careful not to give them too much attention, now that we are home. (That’s a reminder to myself 😉) We recently started a victory garden, so we have that excitement, watching our tomatoes, peppers, and hopefully strawberries, grow.

Perhaps, the most important thing we have started again, is toasting the sunset. We’re not sure where this routine got away from us, but somehow, along the way, it did. Now, more than ever, coming together in the evening with a glass of wine, sitting outside, toasting the sunset from our own quarantined area, is magical. It allows us to take solace in what we have, being thankful for the things we can control, and being able to let go (or try to) of the things that we cannot. We have had our best conversations in the evenings as we toast the sunset. I personally think that it is a way for us to appreciate mother nature and put things into perspective. No matter how tough times get, we can take the time to stop, look at our surroundings, and appreciate the vast enormity of beauty that is so much larger that us. It is a meditative moment, and one that we intend to continue. It is literally, a silver lining that has come from this pandemic.

Quarantine Sunset

Sadly, Capt. Dick Collins has since passed away, though, each time we clink our glasses together during any of our toasting of a sunset, we give a bonus toast to Capt. Dick- the man who taught us how important this ritual truly is.

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