Light and Magic
It’s a cool November afternoon in Sedona, and I’m sitting out on our front porch, listening to the water in our fountain gently splashing and feeling the warmth of the sun shining on me at a low angle. The high thin clouds are spreading the sun’s light gently, adding a soft diffusion, the perfect light for portraits of people. My heart feels a quiet joy as I look around the scene before me. Then a hummingbird comes to the feeder a few paces away, its own iridescence and the vibrant humming of its wings adding to the scene. As it departs, its wings hum as it rapidly beats the air in an invisible blur. It’s all magical, it seems, as I sit and take it in.
What is “magical,” now that I think about it? I think it’s something that takes us out of our ordinary frames of mind and awakens our sense of wonder. A few weeks ago my wife and I noticed a rainbow spreading across the northern sky, and we went outside to enjoy it. Then, as we continued to gaze at it, we see a second, more diffuse one arching above the first rainbow. We just stood and took in the dark clouds and bright rainbow before us
As we continued to gaze at the beauty of the rainbows, I thought of Judy Garland’s song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I just now looked up the lyrics to her song, and they express a deep longing to experience what we all, at one time or another, want to feel – a connection with something greater. But isn’t “something greater” almost always present, if we look?
One of the things I like about my iPhone is that it has a high quality camera, and that I can always have it with me in my pocket. And as they say, "the best camera is the one you have with you." Just the awareness that I have it with me almost all the time helps me be more aware of the world around me – Is there an interesting scene or beautiful light that I could capture, if I only pay attention? Why, yes, there is!
For example, here’s a photograph I took from the window of the plane we were flying to Phoenix in from Eugene. I could see a slight curve in the bright orange light and I realized that I was looking at the pure light of the sun and the shadow of Earth cast by the dawn’s light. What a wonder! I looked out the window for a long time, and I took a number of images, but I like this one the best because the texture and arrangement of the clouds helped make it a more interesting picture.
This is the entryway to one of our favorite places to eat breakfast in Sedona – the Briar Patch Inn. We parked our car just to the right of where I took this photo, and as we walked toward the inn I was struck by the gentle light of the dawn coming sideways through the trees. I quickly took an image with my iPhone, adjusting the exposure to capture the soft light of the sun. Again, paying attention and having a portable camera helps me capture more “everyday” wonders than I would otherwise be able to.
This is Courthouse Butte, a rock formation a short walk from our home in Sedona. It has a very powerful presence to it, and we love to watch how its colors, textures, and shapes shift continually as the sun crosses from the right and moves toward the west. If you look closely, you'll see many small domes and spires that resemble sacred shiva linghams in India, forms that are revered as holy representations of the divine life force.
It’s a cool November afternoon in Sedona, and I’m sitting out on our front porch, listening to the water in our fountain as it gently splashing and feeling the warmth of the sun shining on me at a low angle. The high thin clouds are spreading the sun’s light gently, adding aiffusion, the perfect light for portraits of people and plants. My heart feels a quiet joy as I notice of my soft breathing as I look around the scene before me. Then a hummingbird comes to the feeder a few paces away, its own iridescence adding to the scene. As it departs, its wings hum as it rapidly beats the air in an invisible blur. It’s all magical, it seems, as I sit and take it in.