Words at Sunrise

The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Psalm 50:1

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We continue our journey. Our subject, the “big bay”. On world maps, the Gulf of Mexico. Just the sight of these words: Gulf of Mexico bring thoughts of mystery and the delight of the unknown. This world nurturing body of water while home to an incomprehensible number of life forms is also the site of the world’s best sunrises and sunsets. Yes, that is debatable. However, it is true, a vast stretch of water towards the eastern and western horizons opens infinite possibilities for viewing magnificent sunrises, sunsets, as well as morning and evening vistas of the moon. The Gulf of Mexico tops my list. Ok, it is the only ocean place my eyes have viewed the sun and moon rise and set. Yet, being a land bound connoisseur of sunrise and sunset, the Gulf is a delight.

The time of day when the earth orbit of the sun brings the sun into view above the horizon, or sunrise, is a daily life beginning. Each year, we have opportunity to view this physical phenomenon 365 times. Since the average human life span is 79 years that fact allows for you and I to view in our lifetimes 28,835 sunrises and sunsets- if we begin watching the first year of our life.

Why bother? Some days have too much rain, and cold, and some days the sun is obscured by clouds. Watching the sun rise and set takes time. It’s not always convenient.DSC_0127sig

One moment, consider this. We like color, sunrise and sunset are times for spectacular color. Scattering of light causes color in the sky, and the greatest amount of scattering occurs twice each day; sunrise and sunset. Because of the low angle of the sun and a denser earth atmosphere near the horizon, these two times are the times of the greatest scattering of light. That means sunrise and sunset are the time of day to witness rich colors and great beauty. Photographers like sunrise and sunset, the best light for photos occurs at these times. Sunrise and sunset are magnificent subjects for eye catching photos. The colors are soft and rich.

Knowing something about the science behind the first sunlight of the day will provide you with valid reasons to rise before the sun. Each day contains specific sunrise or set events. Zodiacal light occurs 2-3 hours before the sunrise. It is caused by interplanetary dust scattering the coming sunlight. Astronomical twilight begins 90-75 minutes before actual sunrise. It begins as an eastern glow. The first colors are pale red then yellow. Then just 50 minutes before earth’s closest star rises the time of Nautical Twilight begins. The sky begins noticeable brightening. This time combines colors of both twilight times in a beautiful delicate balance. 30 minutes before sunrise careful observation will reveal the Twilight Arch. On a clear morning deep orange will stretch in the east from north to south. This is also the time of deepest silence during the day. If you planned the night before to take courage and see the sunrise and find clouds covering the sky keep your plan. Go outside anyway, look east, there are cloudy mornings at twilight when the sunrise will set the clouds on fire. Too good to miss.

On the Gulf of Mexico sunrise and set are day events too exquisite to miss. In the silence, just before the sun appears, even with the constant sound of the surf you can hear something else. You feel it most. It is the call of the Mighty One speaking. The Creator of the Universe is setting the order of the day. His order stands, all day to direct life on earth. Dawn and dusk are time to watch God’s power, and sense His presence.

The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Psalm 50:1

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