I use my computer as my window on the world. Right from my desk, I can look in on various places in real-time, full-screen, high definition. The familiar tiny, postage-stamp views are disappearing as broadband becomes widely available and cheaper.
I open the virtual window early every morning as I awaken my computer and look out of my real window onto my own neighborhood. One of the sites is the Boca Raton beach where I have spent many hours in person. Technically, that one is not a live view but photos taken every half hour. This allows the definition to be so detailed I can zoom in close enough to recognize someone, but of course I never know any of them.
At dawn, there are always one or two early risers sitting yoga-style on the sand, alone and widely separated, watching the sunrise, the starting ritual for their day. In the evening, a live Key West webcam shows another group, much larger and gregarious, some a little drunk, gathering on the city dock to watch the sunset. Years ago, at St. Petersburg Beach (actually in adjoining Pass-a-Grille), I would join others at the rooftop bar of the Hurricane Restaurant for a similar ritual. They would ring a brass bell as the last speck of sun sank into the ocean. Below, across the street, others gathered on the beach for the same reason. They also rang a bell, always about a minute earlier because the sun disappeared slightly sooner from their viewpoint. As our bell rang, the patrons would cheer and applaud, finish their drinks, and disperse in all directions.
Bookmarking the day with some sort of ritual appeals to many of us. I raise a flag in my front yard each morning and lower it each evening. I am not obsessive about it, but I do miss it on days when I cannot.
Here are the sites I watch. Join me. Just click on one. We can be our own virtual group. Some show the sunrise, others the sunset. All are fun to watch anytime. Search on the bottom left of each view for a popup icon to switch to full-screen, then sit back and enjoy. On a quiet day, you may only notice a slight swaying of the palm leaves—until a seagull abruptly flies past the camera.