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Sunset colored clouds over the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls.
Sunset colored clouds over the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls.
The Arc of Dreams at sunset in Sioux Falls.
The Arc of Dreams at sunset in Sioux Falls.
Rabbit Butte in rural Perkins County silhouetted at sunset.
Rabbit Butte in rural Perkins County silhouetted at sunset.
Sunrise over upper Falls Park in Sioux Falls.
Sunrise over upper Falls Park in Sioux Falls.
Sunset and cows heading for the barn in rural Buffalo County.
Sunset and cows heading for the barn in rural Buffalo County.
Sunset beyond an abandoned house in rural Buffalo County.
Sunset beyond an abandoned house in rural Buffalo County.
Sunrise with the bison herd of Wind Cave National Park.
Sunrise with the bison herd of Wind Cave National Park.
Sunrise at Wind Cave National Park.
Sunrise at Wind Cave National Park.
A January sunrise over Falls Park in Sioux Falls.
A January sunrise over Falls Park in Sioux Falls.
Sunset clouds with Benton Lutheran just east of Crooks.
Sunset clouds with Benton Lutheran just east of Crooks.
A prairie windmill at sunset.
A prairie windmill at sunset.
The sun setting on freshly fallen snow north of Dell Rapids.
The sun setting on freshly fallen snow north of Dell Rapids.
Late light on new snow.
Late light on new snow.
A late winter sunset scene.
A late winter sunset scene.
Evening fog rising in the Big Sioux River valley.
Evening fog rising in the Big Sioux River valley.
Evening fog rising in the Big Sioux River valley.
Evening fog rising in the Big Sioux River valley.
Evening fog rising in the Big Sioux River valley.
Evening fog rising in the Big Sioux River valley.
Evening fog rising in the Big Sioux River valley.
Evening fog rising in the Big Sioux River valley.

‘Sunrise, Sunset’

Mar 10, 2021

I’m not much on musicals. I find it hard to stay with a story when folks sort of just burst into song and dance. Nothing against music or dancing, it is just a personal preference. That said, there are a few musicals of which I am quite fond. The Sound of Music was a movie that my family watched together on more than one occasion when I was younger. Our school performed The Music Man when I was in eighth grade and our cast pulled from elementary kids to seniors.

One musical, however, rises above all others in my esteem. I first saw Fiddler on the Roof in grade school. It was late in the school year and I think our music teacher just sort of ran out of things to try to teach us, or maybe he lost his patience. Either way, after our spring concert, we spent our music class time watching the 1971 movie version of the musical. Nearly every song is memorable, and the story was fun, funny, melancholy and downright tragic.

One of those memorable songs is also the theme of this month’s column. “Sunrise, Sunset,” composed by Jerry Bock with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, is performed as the oldest daughter in the family is married to the young man she fell in love with (not the butcher that the matchmaker chose for her). Even as a grade schooler I could sense the weight of bittersweet time passing in the song. Now that I’m older the song is even more laden with meaning:

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Sunrises and sunsets happen to be a favorite thing for just about anyone with a camera to photograph, so much so that they far too often fall into the realm of photographic cliché. I’m not so quick to discard sunset photos. Every day the sun rises and every day it sets — sometimes with more flare than usual — and our South Dakota sunsets rarely disappoint.

In mid-February, I was doing my best to capture the last of the day’s light on freshly fallen snow north of Dell Rapids. It was a very pleasant sunset, but the magic wasn’t over after the sun went down. About 15 minutes into the blue hour, a low fog began to rise above the snow in the Big Sioux River valley. I stopped just southeast of Baltic, got my tripod and did my best to capture the ethereal scenes. All the while, in the back of my mind, a familiar chorus began to play. In the dying of the day, I was reminded once again of the gift of time I’ve been given and the promise of another day, another season, another year following another, laden with happiness and tears.

Christian Begeman grew up in Isabel and now lives in Sioux Falls. When he's not working at Midco he is often on the road photographing South Dakota’s prettiest spots. Follow Begeman on his blog.

Comments

09:22 am - Thu, March 11 2021
Gene Hetland said:
Great work, as always, Christian! There is something about sunrises and sunsets. My mother had a kitchen window on the farm that looked to the west, and she really appreciated the gorgeous sunsets. Her twin sister lived across the field, with a kitchen window looking east. Mom would say "You should have seen the beautiful sunset!" and my aunt would respond "And you should have seen the sunrise!" Great memories from out northern McCook County farm!

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