A Star Is Born

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.

Embroidered by Mother

Suns Spotted


8 responses to “A Star Is Born

  1. Apropos for the day of an eclipse. 🙂

  2. Nice. I see the sun as a fiercesome warrior as well, Satan and darkness no match for its heat..

  3. Lauri – and I thought of this topic months ago! Astronomy and irony on a collision course with wackiness!

    amelie – The sun is proud, and warrior-like – I can think of no other way to explain such a loud star scalding such a silent sky.

  4. Only in the past year or so have I become aware of and paid attention to “space weather” – the flares, sunspots and gaseous clouds that increasingly have the potential to affect us.

    There’s a great irony here. Our advancements in technology have left us even more vulnerable to the great space storms – invisible, and lethal. “Love your internet now,” a friend says. “When the great electro-magnetic pulse comes, it will all be over.” A touch gloomy perhaps, but worth pondering.

  5. This is beautifully- so eloquently written. I particularly enjoy how you move from one point of exploration (summer heat) to another (myth, religion) and how each are related to the sun. Your first paragraph takes me right to Southern summers- congealed is such an accurate description of what the air feels like on the stagnant summer days. What a pleasure to read! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  6. The only thing I wish we had around here were proper seasons. All we get is fog. I imagine if I lived someplace with big thunder storms and blazing summers, I’d believe in gods, too.

  7. shoreacres – worth pondering, indeed, and a new direction of thought for me. I think (hope?) we do have time, however, to enjoy the distance and the sparkle of our jeweled galaxies.

    Emma – thank you! Our ‘mild’ summer weather is probably to be preferred by…anyone. But I am such a non-summer person, that anything over 75 degrees makes me imagine air currents that are sluggish and still.

    girl en chapeau – in southern california, the seasons are poorly represented, too. It lulls the weather gods to sleep, I think, and so they ignore their jobs of thundering and lightening.

  8. And if it were a few feet closer, we would all be fried. The universe, planets, life, it’s all an amazing thing, isn’t it.
    This was a very nice read 🙂

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