Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Ripples of Beauty


When you see beauty all around you, beauty will seek and find you, even in the most unexpected places.
Alberto Villoldo

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 like fire. 


Crisp, dryer air allows more pure colors to reach our eyes. That night, the shifting sky painting lasted for about an hour. On that unseasonably warm night, the sunset was a balm to my soul. 

 A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. 
Dorothy Day

Sometimes those ripples are positive.

Sometimes they aren't. And I supposed we're called to make the best of any ripples that come our way.
In this scene, we could see something disturbing the surface of the water. 
The critter didn't seem to care that we were interrupting its evening dip in the Little Salt Marsh.

Randy thinks it was a muskrat, though it was hard to see in the vanishing light.

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 shame. Amen.

Traditional Native American Prayer, UMCH #329 



  1. I always learn a lot from you and your posts. These pics are spectacular (I especially like the possible muskrat one!) Those quotes are very timely. May 2022 bring more unity.

    1. Thank you, Linda! It was such a beautiful evening!

  2. What a magnificent evening shared with a chorous of pelican, ducks and geese, to add to the incredible light show.
    I will be sharing some of your photos and definitely the quotes.

    1. It was just what I needed that night, too, since our Christmas plans had been disrupted by Covid.