The Night’s Turn

(Written Thursday night, June 9, 2011, in Paulden)

What beauty — that long moment when the sky is split between day and night, the fading glow of day meeting the darkening blue of night. The moon shines bright already, a stunning alternative to its even brighter cousin.

Stars begin to appear, like scattered diamond dust, glimmering more vividly every second.

Creatures of the day are silent, the chattering of cicadas replaced by the laughter of crickets. Occasionally, some distant beast makes its presence known with a squawk, croak or squeal. Soon, all remnants of day will be gone — its heat, its light, its sounds. It is the night’s turn now.

The Sounds and Silence of Nature

(Written Thursday, June 9, 2011, in Paulden)

It’s amazing how nature can simultaneously seem so quiet and so alive. Birds chirp and sing, bees buzz, cicadas rattle and the wind gently blows. And yet it all seems so calm and tranquil, like an aura of silence around nature’s constant noise.

Natural Beauty

(Written Wednesday evening, June 8, 2011, on a rock atop a ridge in Paulden as the sun sets on the second night of a three-day retreat)

A truly beautiful sunset is difficult to adequately describe. Of course, an analogy would be best, but at its most incredible, nature is a class of its own, beauty beyond comparison. Nature lends itself graciously as a descriptor of other things, or of other facets of nature. But no unnatural thing can yet match nature’s majesty, in person or on paper.1 Whether the contours of a naked body, the smile of a happy face, or the stunning palette spread by the setting sun, natural beauty is the greatest beauty in the world.

  1. Even when a description or representation comes close, it then creates its own beauty, separate from the natural beauty of whatever is being described.