"The time at which the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon in the morning!"
by Charlie Leck
I was out early this morning, before sunrise, driving toward the east, in the open countryside.
It was dawn, that moment of twilight before the sun rises in the eastern sky. Darkness, which was just about to be wiped away by the illumination that was filtering up from beneath the horizon, was lingering and trying to hold on. The scientists say that this is “the moment after which the sky is no longer completely dark, formerly defined as the time at which the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon in the morning.”
At that incredible moment, which lasts only a matter of seconds, the earth and the heavens are so dramatically visible. In awe, I pulled to the side of the road, stopped the car, opened my window and shut down the engine.
The grandness and splendor of all the cosmos was so delicately visible out over the farm fields, meadowlands and wetlands. Forever and ever the heavens extended over and beyond me and my soul trembled as it realized it is so infinitesimally slight when measured against the fullness of things. I was dramatically and perfectly alert and I examined carefully the sharp detail of heaven and earth.
Perhaps, I thought, I was staring into the face of God – the divine is! I could see all that depth that goes so, so far beyond our own existence and reality.
It is peaceful and calming to accept one’s smallness – tininess – almost nothingness – before the grandeur of the heavens – before the almighty God that “created the heavens and the earth.”
And then the sun rose! The momentary glimpse of God was hidden by the blinding light of the day’s arrival.
“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness… And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”
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