Everyone in Big Sky Country is aware of, and appreciates, the magnificent sunsets that grace us. Sunsets here are distinctive and long-lasting, particularly in the summer. They range from blazing red blazes to wind-tossed clouds. Dark clouds that obscure the sun will glow golden around the edges. Clouds as far as the eye can see may be intensely pink and gold, with hints of pale blue. Alternatively, the entire sky could be subtle blue to grey hues.
Mountain ranges also play a role in this stage. They may appear illuminated at first, as if a spotlight has been trained on them, drawing your attention to facets and ridges. Then, as the sun sets, the peaks of the mountains become dark silhouettes for the final act of the drama.
Many people set up chairs on their porches to watch this spectacular light show, which changes by the minute. The room facing the sunset is frequently the most popular in the house. People stop what they are doing, even if they are driving, to see this great wonder of our little corner of the world.
Valerie Harms, a graduate of Smith College, is the author of 8 books, including The NAS Almanac of the Environment/ The Ecology of Everyday Life. For 7 years she was a Science Editor at the National Audubon Society in New York City. She now lives in Bozeman, Montana.