I was trying to capture the Earth’s shadow this morning; it was a perfect sunrise for it. I knew the shadow would have disappeared by the time I made it outside with the camera, so this is what I saw from my window. The shadow is the faintly darker, grayish area just at the horizon to the left of the chapel roof. OK, you’ll just have to trust me. It was there.
This was one of those rare mornings when the western sunrise sky is more striking than the eastern. I sat in my rocking chair, watching the sky change as our side of the Earth rolled toward the sun behind me.
Watching the sunrise toward the west is actually watching the night fade away. When the atmospheric conditions are just right, the last little bit of departing night I can see is the changing angle of Earth’s shadow. It becomes more obvious and darker for a few moments, and then the new-day light chases it over the horizon and out of sight.
For eons we’ve referred to the Earth’s spinning journey as the “activity” of the sun — sunrise and sunset. This is not only logical — it does appear that the sun travels around us and not the other way around — but it is our wonderful, life-giving local star that is the source and sustenance of all Earth life. On the other hand, I love the idea of using language to reawaken a sense of awe and wonder about our amazing planetary home. So how about these: nightset and nightrise. Or maybe Earthdrop and Earthroll.