During the summer, the sun is overpowering, a symbol of Helios’ consuming appetite. But with that power also comes weariness – the fatigue of long days spent at the very top of the sky’s blue ceiling. During the processional of the mid-year equinox, all clouds and jet streams, every particle of astral dust is consumed in its muscular ascent. Proud of its solstice, the sun is enthroned in the shapely air: a fearsome, melting star.
Throughout the span of each still, expansive day, the sun spends its lengthy rule exerting its strength: bleaching cities, making populations sweat. Beating landscapes into submission, warming oceans until their kelp forests become a frenzy of photosynthesis: it bends its searing gaze onto a lethargic world.
But with dusk’s beckoning coolness, the sun begins to sink. It falls into a horizon that is as rich as a courtesan’s bed, soft and full of decadent color: lavender and tangerine; burgandy and amethyst. The sun longs to sink into its blushing resting place.
Setting slowly, its blaze changes gradually during its subtle fall. Its light is a world of alchemy, an equation that will create a sky of liquid gold. The gilded profile illuminates coasts and countries and plunges behind buildings and trees.
But I think I have seen the sun in repose.
It was dusk, when shadows were stretched and capricious; when light had reached its mid-year richness. I passed by a tree, already in the shade, and saw rays of heat drenching its dark branches. At the top of its trunk, I saw a blazing apparition – stationary, yet still able to drench its resting place with a dazzling, white energy. It seemed to me as if the weary star had thought to stop, to rest its tired body amongst the comfortable leaves.
I don’t know how long the tree bore its bright weight. Many hours, surely – for it was some time before I felt the air become cold and dark. What did the tree receive for its patience? Perhaps the sunlight penetrated its skin, illuminating its chlorophyll…and next spring, when the tree blooms once more it will be radiant, as each gilded leaf uncurls, full of the living memory of the star that had come to rest.