Friday, October 9, 2009

tearful and beautiful

First, the tearful moment:
A friend posted this picture on Facebook and it yanked at my heart-strings, so-to-speak. The friend's husband is in Iraq; they have three small children. My husband's nephew is away for a five month stint on a Navy boat; he has two little ones. Another dear friend has a husband in Afghanistan for over a year; they have two small children. My heart and prayers go out to them.

I do believe in the necessity of having our troops fighting for the freedom and human rights of people in less fortunate countries than our own, but let us never forget the price we must pay for this blessed freedom. (Nor forget the price Christ paid for our ultimate freedom).

The picture also reminded me of when we were in the Spokane airport (2004, arriving for a visit to Stars' home) when a young woman came hurtling past me and threw herself into an incoming soldier's arms. While they embraced, everyone in the airport clapped. A moment I will never forget.

Less poignant, but no less beautiful: a few times a year God sends a sunset that takes my breath away. You'd think after a while that there just can't be any more variations on sunsets. A beautiful sunset still makes me stop and stare even if I saw one just like it the night before. But I don't think I've ever seen one with quite this mix of colors and textures.

Of course this picture doesn't do it justice - my camera is cheap, and the colors were already starting to fade by the time I got my camera. I was afraid if I tried to find a better "frame" (rather than our round pen and the neighbor's truck in the foregound) I'd lose the colors altogether.

The interesting thing about this view of the susnet is that I took it facing east. (I never knew you could have a 360 degree sunset effect until I moved to Wyoming). It's also hard to see in this picture, but the clouds had "virga" effect - virga is a meteorologic term for precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates before reaching the ground, common in desert or dry areas. We occasionally see it here on the Wyoming plains - a curtain of rain that never touches the ground. This is the first time I saw it with sunset colors though, and in particular these very unsual, sort of berry or plum-colored sunset colors. We tend to get very peach and orange-colored sunsets here, which you see in this west-facing photo of the same sunset. You can see how dark the clouds are, almost stormy looking. Besides being dramatic, dark clouds also sometime produce what I call the "golden moment" effect. The sun was blocked by the clouds most of the afternoon, but eventually the sun got low enough that it could "sneak" in under the clouds and get this fantastic mix of dark and rich golden slanting light. I always have to go outside and walk around in wonder in this "golden moment", almost feeling as if I have stepped out of my own mundane world and into a fairytale.
Sometimes you also get this gold piercing the dark effect when you are in a forest and the light slants a partiuclar way through the trees. I came up with a romantic name for this when I was a teenager - the "darklight".

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