Fire in the Sky


My office/”cell” has a west window, but I have to be in a rather contorted position to see much besides another side of the house and the little chapel. Purely by accident, I was in that contorted position tonight, and was stunned to see a little slice of this sunset in progress. I tore down the stairs, grabbing the camera on my way.

Once in a while the sun, the western clouds and pure chance combine to reflect our local star’s fire back to my eye; all the variables are exactly tuned to this kind of display. When it happens I seem to have trouble breathing.

I just can’t imagine any purpose for this spectacular show other than to awe and silence us. As far as I can tell, humans are the only creatures who even notice such a thing, and if we’re at all conscious, we stop whatever we are doing and stare, transfixed. We dare not look away; within minutes the light will go out and we’ll be left with a burning memory that we aren’t completely sure really happened quite the way we remember it.

If we are indeed the only creature aware of this prodigal beauty, we should be responsible and respectful enough to celebrate — yes, to praise — the astonishing glory of our Earth, and to do so for all her living systems.

We should do this, just because we can.

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