09/16/2013 07:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Do Orphans See the Sun Set?

My Des, now 15 and adopted from Ethiopia nine years ago, became obsessed with the setting of the sun, one night while at the beach.

I had dropped him off at the boardwalk to skateboard.

He came home captivated with the sunset. He was sure, so very sure, that he had discovered a really amazing idea; he noticed the sun setting and that was thrilling to me.

I should have let it go at that.

He got caught up in the west and east of the planet earth; I tried to teach him... that was, "my bad."

I consulted with my cousin, Erik, who is a sailor and architect who lives near the Pacific Ocean.

He drew a cartoon-like sketch but with a very scientific schema which paid homage to the sun setting in the west and rising in the east anywhere in the world.

Drawing by Erik Lerner.

Des, my Ethiopian prince, cared deeply about the sun and I am so happy for him. He was an orphan and likely gave no mind to the sun up or down in his first six years in Abyssinia.

Now he is otherwise engaged in all the phenomena of life -- human and astronomical.

I want all orphans to care about the sunset and, for that matter, so much more than their next meal, shelter for the night and safety from sickness...