Magenta, lilac and tangerine flames danced atop the violet mountains. Each time I memorized the hues they shimmied into a new sheath of brilliance. The feathered clouds tried on the full range of bold pinks and purples before slipping into a perfect white peach number—a creamy, pale bodice trimmed with deep reddish-pink.
The sun buttered wisps of cloud in a thick layer of golden splendor before it soaked in and mellowed to heather gray. The western clouds blushed at the eastern sky’s fading exuberance.
I drank in the sunrise with one question . . . Why?
Not why do I see the colors I see; I understand the science of the sunrise and the sunset. I grasp the how. I do, and I love it: the distance the light travels and the electromagnetic radiation and ultraviolet spectrum visible to the naked eye and the bending and refracting of the wavelengths as they encounter chemicals and particles and molecules—a marvelous confluence of physics and meteorology. I delight in knowing the colors scattering out of the same ray of light make the sky appear blue over the Rocky Mountains and red over the coast of North Carolina at the same moment. I can’t get enough of the technicalities. I can’t.
But why is the sky so majestic? What purpose does the audacious resplendence serve?
I watch the sunrise and I see art. Art unable to be divorced from science, yes, but undeniable art. The beauty is powerful enough to stop me in my tracks—to make me forget I was walking at all and leave me rooted in place, gaping at the glory. Beautiful enough to stop the unconscious rhythm of my breath in mid-inhalation—why? Why is it beautiful?
Perhaps it is to point me back to the One who hung the star and bends its light around the horizons of this spinning orb. Perhaps—as art so often does—it is to present Truth that I might be able to take it in. Or perhaps it is the Artist’s daily gift to any who wish to receive it.