the contradictions of light

sunrise over Niagara Falls

We are fascinated by light.

Our world is governed by it. Sunrise, sunset. Morning, night. Seeing, not seeing. Awake, asleep. Healthy, poorly. Life and death. Light controls our biological rhythms. As living creatures we are inextricably linked to light.

We are drawn to light, like moths almost. Who hasn’t paused to watch the sun rise or set? Who hasn’t marvelled at the richness of colour in that morning or night sky? Glistening dew and its water droplets reflecting sunlight. Sunlight dancing through a wooded canopy. A flash of lightening startling the dark sky.

We use light in idiom too, reflecting the importance of light to us. Idioms like: Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. A guiding light. In the light of… Out like a light. Shed light on. The light dawned. The glint in your eye. Even enlightenment, or seeing the light, to describe finding a connection to something greater.

And we try to replicate light in our manufactured world. Fluorescent light, incandescent light, light emitting diodes, laser lights etc.  We use them to create brightly lit advertising displays, televisions, laptops, mobiles, rooms, houses…

I took this picture of sunrise over Niagara Falls this morning. Somehow, the man-made advertising light on the hotel seemed to destroy the majesty of the sun.

It served as a reminder of our fascination, alongside our abject inability to come close to the wonder of the natural world.

 

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