Sunrise, Sunset


Laurie Smith has a stunning sunrise on his blog this week. https://laurie27wsmith.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/fire-in-the-sky-at-the-writers-room/  It makes me think about how the setting of one’s house favors either sunset or sunrise, but rarely both.  We have sunrise over the mountains here. He gets lots of sunsets.  To get the picture, he had to look back over his house.

Now and then there’s a sunset here that brings a lot of color to the clouds in the east, as in this photo I took recently.

Sunset in the East

Sunset in the East

Laurie is a better photographer than I am, and the area around his Writers Room, located somewhere in Australia, has animals as well as plants to see.  Have a look at his blog.




What is it that makes a sunrise so attractive? The ephemeral nature of it is no doubt part of it.  The clouds don’t stop moving so that their effect can be admired.11.15 sunrise

The difficulty of capturing a sunrise is surely part of the attraction. Painters are naturally interested in sunrise and sunset because the colors are so varied and hard to reproduce.  I can’t do a sunrise justice in a poem, because there aren’t enough names for all the variations in the color, and people don’t agree on the names there are.  Photography has its own complications of capturing the shifting light against darkness elsewhere.11.16 sunrise

In our household we are such creatures of the clock that we only notice the sunrise at a few brief periods of the year. The rest of the time we are up too early or too late.  The problem of being too late is obvious.  The problem of being too early is caused by my inability to put off getting to work – near a window through which the sunrise does not appear.

These photos were taken on two consecutive mornings―this past weekend. Two very different beginnings of two different days.  This morning there were no clouds at all to create any colors.

Just Another Sunrise



Of course there’s no such thing as “just another sunrise” since every one is different and largely indescribable.  The colors in the sky make our color names seem like abstractions.  This morning I was patient enough to get the sunrise at two moments.  After this we had a warm and sunny morning.



Second Anniversary Thank You


Today is two years from the day I began this blog.  It has been an adventure for me, a learning experience, often fun and sometimes frustrating.  I began in order to publicize my biography, John Emerson Roberts: Kansas City’s “Up-to-date” Freethought Preacher.  I did make some connections and sell a few books through this effort.  Soon I will be using this space to do more publicity for my forthcoming book of poetry, Made and Remade, a set of poems responding to the God as Designer work of William Paley.

Those of you who follow and who regularly read this blog know all that.  Thank you all for your interest, for your “likes” and especially to those of you who comment – it turns blogging into dialogue in a very nice way.

The name for this blog was not carefully chosen; it came to me as a sudden inspiration, and I saw at once that it would stand for what I have made the subtitle: Two Sides of One Mind.  I may be doing poetry now, but I’m still thinking freely, and I am interested in conversations in both areas.  I promise more from both sides of my mind – at least for one more year.

Here’s another sunrise to suggest another new year.  These thin clouds are more typical of our skies than the big splashes I’ve posted before.


Feast of Bridget


It’s another marking point in the eight-part year, half way from the winter solstice to the spring equinox, variously known at Imbolc, the feast of Bridget, a fire goddess, and Groundhog day.  I prefer Bridget, because she is said to be the patron of blacksmiths and poets, a fiery combination if there ever was one.

In Pennsylvania they make a big thing of the groundhog.  But shadow or no shadow, we knew there would be six more weeks of winter.  The traditional day to plant spinach where I lived was March 17.  We liked to pretend that spring began in early March with the big flower show, but that only happened indoors.

Here in the desert, this is the beginning of spring.  I’m behind in the garden already, because there are still two plants, one tall grass and a chamisa, which need serious cutting back before they begin to put out green again.  I intended to cut them back in January, but I only got half way around the yard.

One of the treats of this point in the year is that the sun rises between the time I get up and the time I settle in to work at my desk.  This means that I get to enjoy some grand light shows.P1000030

This one came on January 31, as if to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  It is an added pleasure to have a new camera with which to –approximately–capture the moment.P1000031

Happy New Year


I’m four days late wishing my Christian friends a happy new year.  Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent, marking the beginning of the liturgical year, as we look forward once again to Christ’s coming into the world.  The liturgical color for this season is blue, which signifies hope.  It is a season of waiting.

The waiting on the surface level is the waiting for Christmas which, in contrast to the secular season, only begins on December 25.  Children’s advent calendars mark the days with little doors to open on each day, until the door for December 25 reveals a manger scene.

There is a deeper level to advent waiting for which there is no calendar.  We do not know “the day or the hour” for Christ’s return.  Many people still expect a physical return, in spite of nearly 2,000 years in which it has not happened.  Others speak of Christ coming into our hearts and lives.  I tend to think of growing into Christness, rather than Christ coming to me.  Different metaphors work for different folks.

We had a splendid sunrise on December 1, which makes a good image for advent and new beginnings.  The rising sun is received by the cloud in brilliant color.  As the sun rises, the cloud blocks it.  We tend to be less aware, less appreciative of the sun when the clouds are really thick.  But it is there, making what was night into day, too powerful to be fully obscured.

December Sunrise

December Sunrise

Chronophobia: Fear at the Equinox


Time always seems to be an issue at the fall equinox.  The shortening daylight gives a feeling of shorter hours, while the activities that resume in the fall take up more of those hours.  The tasks put off during hot weather have also accumulated.  There is one plus to this season: being up before the sun to see the dawn color.

September Sunrise

September Sunrise


The rest of the day time seems to run and leap, trampling the to-do list.  I may even suffer an attack of Chronophobia:

I’m on the monster’s back and I don’t dare get off.  Time is the enemy, a threat to all my projects.  Of hours in the day or days in the week there are never enough to keep up with all my chosen tasks: the writing, the meetings, the email, the sewing, the gardening.

Some weeks I wonder if I should even be spending Sunday morning at church.  I hear time growling, licking his lips.  Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do today that I must spend a long time in prayer.”  How could this be, I wondered.  Then I discovered the secret.  When I stop, really completely stop―not just sit down with a book, not just make a cup of coffee―when I really come to a full stop, time stops too.

It doesn’t last long.  As soon as I begin to move again, I have to get back up on the monster’s back and race toward the next task, the next deadline, the next chime of the hour. If I slip off I may be eaten.  This is Chronos, after all: the old god who eats his children.

Thanks to Ina Hughs, at last year’s October Writing Festival at Ghost Ranch, for her “sheet of fears” exercise.