Thoughts about the Sun on a Sunday Night....
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
Sunlight isn't just one of our most valuable resources-- it is the source.
Without the sun, our little planet would be orphaned hopelessly, careening through space in freezing temperatures, exposed to dangerous cosmic radiation. Most life as we know it would be done for within a week.
Yet that same heat that feeds plants, heats the oceans, and circulates wind also has the unrestrained power to turn our planet into a smoldering greenhouse. Not that the sun cares-- nothing has changed on his side for millions of years. Would we ask the sun, if we could (and if it could understand us) to maybe shine a little less brightly, to make up for our environmental follies? What would a sentient sun do about that request? I wonder sometimes.
"We have really only that one light, one source for all power, and yet we must turn away from it by universal decree. Nobody here on the planet seems aware of this strange, powerful taboo, that we all walk about carefully averting our faces, this way and that, lest our eyes be blasted forever." -Annie Dillard
Sunsets and Thresholds
On the last day of the year, I go somewhere by myself (sometimes I take my dog) to watch the sun set. It's become a kind of ritual.
I don't do anything in particular (For example, this year, I thought I'd try a sun salutation or do something picturesque and pensive like sit on a rock and twirl a stick in my fingers... but it was too dang cold for any of that. So I got right back in my car.)
But I try to snap a picture. And I ruminate on my life and the past year.
This year, I watched the sun fall over South Provo, tracing the shadows as they fell up over the Eastern mountains. It was nice. Calming... and weird too, to realize you have slowed down enough to watch the sun, as a dainty pink droplet, slip away behind the mountains.
We don't always think about how fast things are moving when it's noonday. But the earth is moving at a constant speed at all times of the day. It's just that the speed is highlighted (pun intended) by the sun crossing the horizon, a threshold from day into night. And everything is always more dramatic at a threshold, because thresholds always call to attention movement, change, and passage. Even if the threshold is an arbitrary one like "New Year's."
Near the Arctic and Antarctic circles at certain times of the year, the sun never sets. It just bobs up and down in a circle along the horizon-- bathing everything in gold and blurring dawn and dusk together for nearly six months out of the year. How would that be, to have every minute look the same as the one before, without any change? To have every minute feel as though it were both the beginning and the end of the day? Twilight zone...all the time.
Would the value of your minutes grow or shrink, if every hour was a golden hour? If the setting sun never reminded you to "call it a day"?
all this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
"You owe me."
with a love like that-
It lights the whole sky.
(aaaannnd....what we've all really been waiting for: CGI Beatles + Spanish Subtitles. Thanks, Internet :)