Sunset at Galle Face Hotel 31 December 2008.
Growing up in Hikkaduwa we would watch the sun go down and the catamaran boats push out to sea. When you were very young, the sun sinking into the water was fascinating mystery — Where does it go? How does it come back from the other side in the morning? What does it do — go to sleep? and is the Moon the Sun’s friend/sister?
As the light faded with sinking sun the kerosene lamps on the fishing boats would dot the horizon flickering like a band of fireflies. If we were lucky, we would spot a spouting whale or catch a glimpse of a sea turtle.
Often soothed by the salty breeze this was a time I would talk to the sea, tell my worries, reflect on the year that was passing and ask the sea will the new year when I would be officially one year older, be a better one.
Today, at the posh Galle Face Hotel, the tables were being set with black table cloths, the coconut trees had bands of small lights, and possibly the band, the singers were already at the tables. Some tourists were out with the cameras. There were no boats out at sea, only two ships in the horizon. Colombo is getting ready to party all night.
Looking at the fast disappearing ball of fire, the mind was on reverse gear recollecting many 31 December evenings in Hikkaduwa. I would kneel on the window sill, press my nose to the window and watch the lights form the boats, listen to the sea and wait for the Seth Thomas clock to strike at midnight.
Today, at Galle Face I asked the same questions and got the same reply from the sea.
Somethings never change. … some do for eternity.
Tomorrow is another day,
and another birthday.
Photographs © Chulie de Silva