When the year is almost half over, the air begins to thicken. It congeals with heat and turns gold and silver with a sultry alchemy. The chemicals of summer mix in the sky and forge the sun, which, like Damocles’ sword, hangs above the earth – threatening it with the power of an angry season.
Religions have devils and demons. They have their own scarlet visions of Satan; the bizarre pride of a displaced angel. But before there was religion, when priests chanted in forests, when icons were splattered with blood, when temples were built on a population of bones – the sun was revered. People cowered in the night waiting for its return: a displaced star that burned away its twilight home.
The stories of Satan’s banishment are myriad; lessons of arrogance falling from the sky on rivers of black flames. Coated in waves of plasma, the sun’s bold heat covers the sky as it travels across the rim of the day, its audacious creation. Perhaps it must be punished too: for extinctions, climate change, droughts…when its bulky orbit ran roughshod over the planets that hung in the Milky Way like fruit. And that must be why it is impossible to view the sun without pain. It is a star that chose to explode with heat in a solitary show of conceit, yet because of that strength, no one will ever look upon the sun’s face. All admiration is forsaken.
But life must grow. It needs light to encourage blossoms and blood, to warm the flesh and stir the heart. It needs the prisms and molecules that curl in the atmosphere to create an anatomy of radiance. It needs the giant, impudent star glowing in the opaque embers of the galaxy to define the seasons; to nourish the year.
Appearing on the horizon every twenty-four hours in a bloody, fearsome birth, the sun is the font of all existence, but also a source of blinding pride. It can feed and cloak worlds in a seamless band of light. But it can also lay them to waste, leaving continents behind like blackened corpses.
What will it do next? The sun is inescapable, but at the same time is unknowable. And it hides its motives behind a wink of its gilded eye.