Here in England, we don’t often see the sun for large portions of the day. Today is no exception, however is setting in style.
I try to see life in the same way.
I wanted to post a little earlier than usual today due to a huge roar of thunder. You know the ones you can almost feel as well as hear. The ones that put your windows and underwear to the test.
I was still half asleep when I climbed over my bed and to the curtains, looking out to horizontal rain that I can only describe as painful had I not been sheltered. I love this kind of whether but for a different reason. I was hoping to have a beer outside as I did when I took this picture a couple of days ago, I don’t think today will be the day.
Sadly I didn’t stay awake long enough to watch the whole show. My body wouldn’t let me. It is sobering to think that I can only wake up when my body says so. I fall asleep when it says so too. I only came into existence when someone else’s body said so, that’s really crazy. My atoms were always out there somewhere, not organised enough to form a consciousness. The storm today was incomprehensibly small compared to the ones I have missed over the billions of years before my existence, smaller than the ones happening right now throughout the universe.
I shouldn’t solely blame sleep with this in mind, being awake doesn’t help much either. As I have posted previously, all we can do is stare and wonder. We know some of what goes on up in space, this isn’t enough to grant our senses the ability to focus on it.
It is frustrating to know what we cant see but it is pretty amazing that our species is developing tools that overcome this. Thankfully the future looks brighter than the skies today.
And just like that, it changes. Just as the grey was becoming tiresome, the sun beams through brighter than it ever has, adding colour like it was 1967 again.
Like the good old battle of good vs evil, the positive ending justifies the unsettling lead up. The positive outcome welcomed, appreciated that little bit more.
Often the case here in the UK, probably the tenth time this cycle has repeated today. As much as I enjoy the changes, seeing the light pierce through makes me value the sun even more than I always do, enough to make me put on a jacket and experience it first hand before it falls victim to the horizon once more.
I love English weather.
Someone has to.
I love the endless cloud formations, the varying shades all congregating, a merging melting pot occupying the same space better than humanity can.
Then again, the skies occasionally produce tornadoes. Sometimes like people, nature spirals out of control. I have been told the UK has more tornadoes than anywhere in the world (per square km), they just often form in rural areas and are nowhere near as destructive as those seen in the States.
I did in fact see one off the coast of Majorca around the year 2000. Incredible, something I have always wanted to see unfolding in front of my very eyes. A couple of miles out to sea, it’s a shame smart phones weren’t a thing. We decided to leave our chunky video camera in the hotel as we had no plans other than the pool. To this day my sister and I argue as to who saw it first. It was definitely me.
I also look up and remain thankful that my country does not endure regular natural disasters. I have to, I thank anything and everything that keeps me here for as long as I am. Not that I am thankful that others go through this instead, it hurts every time I have seen the media coverage of a tsunami slamming into a coastline or a quake tearing the ground apart. What I do consider are the religious nations suffering such forces. Is that why they are religious, sometimes prayer is only thing left? Why do I escape these nightmare scenarios in a relatively non-religious nation? Why do dedicated theists live perilously at the bottom of an active volcano or in long lasting droughts?
Nature is a beautiful thing, but it likes to kill us.
Isn’t our sun incredible when it isn’t trying to kill us to death? Bright enough to blind us and hot enough fry an egg. We are always quick to praise ‘perfect’ nature, despite doing so much to avoid it from finishing us off…
I would much prefer honesty when talking about nature. Why do we constantly hear that our world is too perfect to not have a creator, told by people wearing glasses and hearing aids, spending a shit tonne of time using air conditioning and sun cream? Nature is awesome but it can be a right little shit at times.
Images taken in Langkawi, Malaysia and Palo Duro Canyon, TX.
Should I take a thick coat and gloves, or a thin t-shirt and shorts?
This was going through my mind recently before a work trip to Edinburgh, on route from Newcastle by rail. The journey up the east coast was a beautiful mix of blue skies and blizzards in five minute bursts as we pierced through the weather systems at high speed. The weather provided a warm welcome when I did walk out into the busy streets of Edinburgh.
Can you tell I love weather watching? Ever since I was a child I have loved the way nature changes, especially in extreme cases. I was fortunate to witness a waterspout a few miles out to sea off the coast of Majorca when I was 11 or 12 during a family holiday, back when video cameras were pretty big, too big to take to the swimming pool that day. Oh how I wish we did!
And now, I’m at home, reading The God Delusion outside in the heat thinking what difference a week or so can make.
Skimming though the blog posts today I found this interesting piece on natural beauty and God’s input on this.
The author of the post is a teacher, opening with the following-
Nearly all of my students disagree with me, but you cannot convince me that beauty is not one of the most compelling arguments for God’s existence.
What I want from a teacher is thinking outside of the box. To get student to push their thinking to knew, unexplored areas. In my opinion, the author/teacher is not thinking hard enough, or at least creating many more questions from her conclusion.
Beauty would be a compelling argument for God if it were to be consistent throughout the world. Beauty is not always the case. Immediately I think of those born without the ability to see. The eye not able to function as well as the next person. This post from Christian Today speaks of the awful human suffering that goes on thanks to insects that can only survive by living off it’s unfortunate victims. Was God having an off day? Maybe he felt the world was looking a little too lovely and decided to throw a spanner in the works. He might also mourn with us, but I see no logic whatsoever in the creator and govenor of our universe being more powerless than our local doctor or nurse.
The following quote is taken from the book A Memory of Wonders, also used by the author.
Suddenly the sky over me and in some way around me, as I was on a small hillock, was all afire. The glory of the sunset was perhaps reflected in the myriads of particles of powdery sand still floating in the air. It was like an immense, feathery flame all scarlet, from one pole to the other, with touches of crimson and, on one side, of deep purple. I was caught in limitless beauty and radiant, singing splendor. And at the same time, with a cry of wonder in my heart, I knew that all of this beauty was created, I knew God. This was the word that my parents had hidden from me. I had nothing to name him: God, Dieu, Allah or Yahweh, as he is named by human lips, but my heart knew that all was from him and him alone and that he was such that I could address him and enter into relationship with him through prayer. I made my first act of adoration.
‘And at the same time, with a cry of wonder in my heart, I knew that all of this beauty was created, I knew God.’
This is such a huge jump. To claim to know God is as much of a false claim as it is an incorrect misinterpretation of the emotions felt at the time. Maybe this lady was filled with awe. What she wasn’t filled with was newly found knowledge of the universe.
‘I had nothing to name him: God, Dieu, Allah or Yahweh, as he is named by human lips, but my heart knew that all was from him and him alone and that he was such that I could address him and enter into relationship with him through prayer. I made my first act of adoration.’
Before I claim to know someone and begin to adore them, I at least expect to know their name. Maybe I am old fashioned like that. To go from zero to clingy after one experience is to me, pretty scary. A total abandonment of critical thinking and any form of rational analysis.
Let me make this clear, I do find nature breathtakingly beautiful.
Mountains are incredible considering how they have formed over millions of years. The sheer size both humbling and mind-blowing. If I was to believe that these landscapes were made by a creator, my appreciation begins to slump. Afterall they’re lined with soil and dirt, the kind of substances you would shriek at if the dog was to drag it onto your newly cleaned carpet. Where is the imagination and innovation? How amazing would these ranges be if they were made of gleaming crystal for example? Or if we could take a dip in any ocean at any time and it be a consistent warm temperature for all to enjoy?
Right now over Northern England the skies are gloomy and overcast. Where are the myriads of particles of powdery sand floating behind a glorious sun?
Like anything, appreciation should come from consistency. Until then, question God instead of bowing at his feet.