Keyhole Arch

There is something about an arch that draws us, pulls us in, and generally commands our attention. Perhaps it is the fact that an arch is, essentially, a hole in a rock. Perhaps arches represent strength and holding rock up. Or perhaps it is just that they are, after all, very cool. We love to look through the arches to see what is on the other side. And sometimes, like in this case, something looks back at us through the arch.

Keyhole Arch is a small arch in a medium-sized rock just off of Pfeiffer Beach in the Big Sur area of California. Standing just a few yards offshore in the Pacific Ocean, this rock with a tiny opening is neat to look at, although most of the time, beyond the fact that it is in the ocean, it is mostly unremarkable. Waves crash through the arch, which is also fascinating to see. I should know, for on a previous trip to this arch I watched the waves surge through the arch for over an hour without realizing the time had gone by so quickly.

As in many areas of life, however, timing is everything. Right around the Winter Solstice, if weather and conditions are favorable, the setting sun lines up with this arch perfectly, allowing the sun’s rays to shine directly through the arch for just a few magical moments. And the word “magical” is exceptionally applicable. This easily ranks as one of nature’s finest shows and is mesmerizing to witness.

Keyhole's Solstice

This display took my breath away. As the waves careened through the arch, they hit the rocks on the other side of it; they were in turn lit up by the golden rays of the dying sun, and, well, the results are above. It was heartbreaking when the sun went below the horizon, and within the space of seconds, the light went out. It was almost as if someone flipped the switch, so fast the transition was.

Looking at the sun directly through the arch gives another interesting perspective, too. And yes, I wore sunglasses. This scene was incredibly bright, as you can well imagine. Still, I think it turned into an incredibly dramatic photograph.

Flaring Arch

Eventually, the sun slips below the distant horizon, and the light fades out of the day. That’s OK, though, because it leaves us with one more scene:

Keyhole's Night

As the year ends and January rolls around the display fades away and we need to wait again until next year.

All in all this small arch packs quite the punch, if you know when to look. Then again, isn’t that the case in so many areas of life?

Purchase Keyhole Arch

Of course, you can purchase Keyhole Arch, allowing you to enjoy this moment of nature every single day.