The Difference a Day Makes


May 24, 2016 by petrujviljoen

I’ve been recording the sunsets since January, the 7th  of this year. Since moving to the countryside, I noticed the point where the sun sets – and rises for that matter – changes from season to season.  It took a while to wonder why, still being punch-drunk from the big bad old city. Research revealed the rotation of the earth around the sun travels in an ellipse and not a circle. I didn’t know that. Due east and due west happens only twice a year, on the spring and fall equinoxes.

The cat, oh the cat! I’ve learnt to watch the position of the sun from my house and estimate how long it will take to reach the horizon – it’s not really the way things work is it? Let’s try again: I’ve learnt to watch the position of the sun from my house and estimate how long it will take for the earth to rotate until it seems as if the horizon reaches the sun. Should one be travelling in a vehicle along the road at this time, one could have the privilege of seeing the sunset more than once, travelling round mountain after mountain. It’s been a while since I did this with the moon.

The cat: she thinks she’s the top-cat in this house. I often let her. When I want us to go on a walk, she’d sit around, pretend she’s busy, preen herself, watch the birds and see if I’ll get impatient at which point she’d … it takes too long. So now I pick her up and walk as fast as I can until we’ve passed the few houses and made it round the bend, her moaning and growling to be put down all the while.

There’s a fence (where I’d let her go), that we have to climb through to get to the place where we sit to watch the last few minutes, sometimes ten, sometimes twenty, sometimes half an hour, sometimes longer, of the setting sun. We know now it’s not really the way things work – see above. Just sitting, maybe walk around a little bit to see what’s new, who’s been and wonder about the why of it all or the how of it all which is really the same thing if one thinks about it. One can tell whether it’s been the monkeys, the baboons or the humans. Last mentioned would’ve left garbage (thankfully very seldom); the baboons turn over huge stones to see what’s edible underneath and the monkeys – I can’t always tell about the monkeys. Me? I leave nothing. Only the photo as evidence I’ve been and sometimes not even that.

I sit at the same point to capture the moment of sunset, or as we now know … see above. We, the cat and I, don’t do this every day. Other days we work in the garden or walk at a different time, weather permitting. Inclement weather has us doing other things.


asylum seeker

earth’s orbit an ellipsis

female principle


Linked to Dverse Poets Haibun Monday, hosted by Kanzen Sakura.

See for background research.


33 thoughts on “The Difference a Day Makes

  1. bethanyk says:

    These are breathtaking !!! I absolutely love the sun pictures

    • I have only a small hand held little digital, which is not efficient to take good pics of vistas. I intend printing out the pics and painting them for exhibition purposes.

  2. Mish says:

    I enjoyed your writing style in this haibun…a mirage of thoughts, interesting facts, the cat…oh the cat! A unique and refreshing response to the prompt with some amazing sunsets shared. Nice!

  3. Grace says:

    I admire your patience and perseverance in taking those gorgeous sunset pictures ~ The companionship of the cat made me smile ~ I enjoyed the haibun ~ Have a good week ~

  4. SmLes… EarTh never
    sweats orbit around
    Sun.. cats say no
    when they get
    too many
    and scratch
    WarningS oF diScomforT…
    hUmanS iN BaLanCinG
    stAnd stronG
    LoVe hard
    hug noW iN
    gRass moonliT..
    rollS in midday
    sAnds.. so free allone..
    noW Sand oF SinG SonG
    BliSS WitH Grass cat whiskers
    freE noW to bE aLiVe noW withouT
    hUman Cultural noise iN PriSon

    BreathE DancE SinG..
    moonLit twiliGht
    Sun’s.. hEiR..:)

  5. Having a companion even a cat brings it to reality. There is a sense of human element that is stronger than when one is alone.


  6. I like this unique take on the prompt. I almost felt like I was reading a story.

  7. I think the inclusion of the cat was genius, really giving a glimpse of the moment(s) and the experience of chasing, waiting for sunsets. It was alive.

  8. What a lovely idea. Beautiful photos too. We are so blessed to live in this Lowveld. Cheers Liz

  9. thotpurge says:

    What can be more fun.. than trying to figure out the whys and hows of life, watching the sun set.

  10. jillys2016 says:

    The time spent tracking the patterns in nature; the sun, moon, seasons – these all focus our lives. Thank you for sharing your poem, the Haiku is startlingly wonderful and I love your photos!

  11. kanzensakura says:

    Like Bjorn, I like the conversational tone of this. And the sunsets. Oh my! I like the photos you have taken documenting them. And the cat….I have to smile. Cats are so very….cats. But that is why we love them. I am always amazed at you writing about baboons and monkeys. The worst marauders we have around here are raccoons who have a way of being able to unlatch latched garbage cans and deer who nibble at our gardens. Thank you for this view of your world and your photographing the sunsets.

    • Your raccoons are as adept as the monkeys! The sliding bolt to the enclosed veggie patch needs a lock – the monkeys have learnt to open it! We have a pair of grey duikers hanging around as well. Just beautiful. Thanks Tony.

      • kanzensakura says:

        They are clever little buggers. Like us, articulated thumb and though tiny, those hands are strong. But sneaky. Only venture out at night. If you see one in the daytime, it is usually because they are ill and to be avoided and hopefully, reported to animal control. They can be vicious if rabid.

  12. Oh I love the conversational tone of this… how you let the cat believe and yet share that moment of sunset. It takes patience to sit and trace the sun and figure out its rules… I am envious of the view you have.

  13. Kathy Reed says:

    A light and clever haibun with your cat and the camera and the setting sun. You summed it up well with your ending haiku!

  14. A perfect “lost” destination, Petru. With or without cat! Thanks for taking us along!

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