For some reason I have been fascinated lately by the sunrise and sunset. So much so that my kids have begun to think I am nuts every time I pull the car over to take another picture. They lean back and turn the music up so that the whole car vibrates. Trucks and semis hauling to and from the oil fields whiz past. I ignore the growling in my stomach for breakfast or supper.
And I stand there, snapping picture after picture of the birth and death of another day.
What is it about the sunset and sunrise that garners so much attention from the humans on this planet? We photograph it, write poetry about it, paint it, change our clocks for it, wrap our language around it … as if dark and light meant everything to us.
I suppose it’s engrained in our souls from a time before light bulbs dulled the night sky fading the stars with their electric buzz. When the difference between light and dark, between day and night, meant hunting and planting crops or starving while hunkering down to sleep under a tree.
But even after a century of living with artificial light, we still change our clocks every spring and every fall to cater to the schedule of a demanding sun. Even our most genius, life-altering inventions can’t win against the tilt of the earth and the pull of the moon sloshing oceans upon our shores.
Every day the sun comes up and goes back down reminding us that we are merely human. None of us were born with tights and a cape, the ability to fly or leap tall buildings, the power to capture the moon with a shrink ray.
We were born frail and weak with nothing more than a passion for eating and breathing and learning.
The sun is so much more.
And yet, we are world changing, life altering beings. We own something the sun will never have. We share something with one another every day through language and art and … sometimes even silence … that the sun will never know no matter how many times it rises and falls, no matter how many days it commands.
Because we are compassionate beings with the ability to love or hate, to laugh or cry, to project our thoughts upon those around us in whatever form we choose to take.
The sun can move us to wake and sleep, to moments of awe, to snap another photograph and write another poem, but only we can tear out someone’s heart in a moment with a mere word.