Sunset is usually pretty in some way. But it was a happy accident that sunset during a trip to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge was so spectacular. Even though the Little Salt Marsh is only a few miles from our house, you have to make the decision to venture out before you know whether the setting sun will provide a Broadway-worthy finale ... or maybe only a one-star review.
But, on that December evening, the view was worthy of all the good reviews and accolades - though at our location, it was only Randy and me, joined by a chorus of pelicans, ducks and geese bidding each other a good evening.
Cloudy summer skies can provide their share of drama. But NOAA meteorologist Stephen Corfidi.says it's scientific fact that the crisp, cool temperatures yield even more vibrant hues. No matter the time of year, sunset colors are created by a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering. It’s the same phenomenon that makes the sky appear blue during the day.
Sunlight contains all the colors of the rainbow. But not all the colors reach the ground in the same concentration. Nitrogen and oxygen molecules in our atmosphere act as little mirrors for blue and violet light, in particular. That means not as much blue or violet light reaches the ground. Instead, it bounces around in our atmosphere, creating the blue dome of sky we’re all so familiar with.
At sunset, light has to travel through a greater distance of atmosphere
to reach our eyes — so even more blue light, and even some green and
yellow light, gets filtered out. That leaves us with the warmer hues of
the visible light, the reds and oranges, and it’s why many sunsets look
Final shot before heading for home ... Thank you, God, for beauty to calm the soul.
From an email devotional in this new year:
O Great Spirit, whose breath gives life to the world, and whose voice is
heard in the soft breeze; We need your strength and wisdom. Cause us to
walk in beauty. Give us the eyes ever to behold the red and purple
sunset. Make us wise so that we may understand what you have taught us.
Help us learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. Make
us always ready to come to you with clean hands and steady eyes, so when
life fades, like the fading sunset, our hearts come to you without
Traditional Native American Prayer, UMCH #329