Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green Faith Day V

5. Can you give us an example from creation of something that inspires your faith and explain why?

On November 5, 2001, seven weeks after the attack on New York, there was a display of aurora borealis so intense it was visible as far south as Alabama.

Unlike most auroral displays, which are unstable and short-lived, this one went on for hours. In Southeast Alaska, we could see it even before the sun was below the horizon. The entire sky turned blood red.

An auroral corona began to form, shimmering rays of every shade of crimson from the palest pink through rich king salmon, to dark, dark magenta streaked with gold, all seeking a focal point.

Before the ability to verbalize deserted me, I was possessed by a longing for everyone in Washington, everyone in the Middle East, everyone planning violence and revenge to experience this overwhelming transcendence. If only they could see it, everything else would pale into insignificance. They couldn't fight, they couldn't . . .

Then the tears began: this is why psalms are written, this is how myths are born, holy salmon guard in their flesh the light of this blessing from heaven. . . .

I went into the house, put on my warmest parka and returned to the beach.

I lay down on stones.

Around me the horizon arced 200 degrees, a hundred miles north to south before the mountains blocked it at either end.
The aurora extended over the entire vault.

What is more, the zenith of the corona, the vanishing point at which all the rays gathered and from which they proceeded, formed above me. Cathedrals of light ascended and descended, pillars of eternity.

In some way my life ended that night. If I had turned into a block of ice while baptizing in the aurora, I would have died a happy woman.


Blogger Don LaBranche said...


This is quite beautiful and insightful, particularly "this is why psalms are written, how myths are born...".
In the land of myth and poetry, we can hope that all those planning violence could be changed by beauty. Alas (another good word we don't use much anymore) some would see the aurora as divine approval of their anger and desire for retribution.

1:21 pm, March 19, 2009  

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