How much more obvious can it get than a magnificent star rising every morning on our horizon to wake us up to our own magnificence? So obvious that it’s easy to miss. This giant gift we’re given every day escapes us in our busy lives; who takes the time to drink in the blessing that warms our planet on a daily basis, keeps us alive?
Okay, so I picked a home in the sky, a high-rise apartment with a terrace on the 14th floor where I can “emerge spiritually from slumber” quite literally by filling my vision first, even before brushing my teeth, with the blessing of a sunrise. We talk about the dawning of a new day, we cite the magic of the rising sun in spiritual text, acknowledge the sun’s vitamin D powers in our scientific literature. Could it get more obvious?
I’m not suggesting the sun to be a false idol of any kind, but surely it’s one of the more miraculous orbs of creation from which we can draw spiritual sustenance. There are trees and roses, azure waters and many miracles of nature all around us, but the rising (and setting) sun is a constant that we can universally access from almost anywhere. The places where darkness seasonally prevails (around the North and South poles) notwithstanding, most of where humans choose to reside come replete with daily doses of sunshine.
What about it makes the rising of the sun so spectacular — so often photographed, painted and used in poetry and song lyrics? Its beauty is constant but its visual manifestation is different every day. Just like us. So much of who we are is made of the same predictable stuff, but a space seems always left for the unexpected, for change, for untold beauty that’s never before been seen. We are like the sun in our penchant for showing up, but our rays of expression vary from day to day, moment to moment.
Maybe we love the sun so much because it reminds us not only of the divine, but the divine in ourselves. We can “stop and smell the sunshine” or we can sleepwalk through our day and make the motions of a fluid, forward-moving life.
I choose to remember my divinity as I jump out of my bed each morning, peer through the blinds and make my way onto the terrace, cats at my feet and camera close at hand. My tribute is to document what I see and share it in pictures. The moment of magic enters my eyes, concentrates in my heart, then is absorbed and embraced through the lens of my camera. When I “develop” my pictures onto the computer screen, it’s like opening a door in my heart. From this place, I hope the feeling I experienced is conveyed to the person admiring the photograph. I’m less after the technicalities of a perfect shot and more about the magic of the moment stirring inside of me. Keeping it all to myself just doesn’t seem fair.
Seven, almost eight years, of snapping these photos morphed into a serious hobby, then a book, now a growing Facebook community of backyard shooters who send and post what’s greeting them on the horizon either morning or sunset times. Or both. I feel blessed to be a part of this grand circle of appreciation. Taking a moment to look at what is always around us can cause waves of joy and well-being exponentially throughout our day that ultimately spill over onto the people around us.
What could be better? And, all I had to do was wake up. (emerge from slumber).