Watching Ensanguining Skies

Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
  Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
  Falls the remorseful day.
~A.E. Houseman from “How Clear, How Lovely Bright”

O’er me, like a regal tent,
Cloudy-ribbed, the sunset bent,
Purple-curtained, fringed with gold,
Looped in many a wind-swung fold…

~John Greenleaf Whittier from “The Barefoot Boy”

Once I saw a chimpanzee gaze at a particularly beautiful sunset for a full 15 minutes, watching the changing colors [and then] retire to the forest without picking a pawpaw for supper.
~Adriaan Krotlandt, Dutch ethologist in Scientific American (1962)

It was like a church to me.
I entered it on soft foot,
Breath held like a cap in the hand.
It was quiet.
What God there was made himself felt,
Not listened to, in clean colours
That brought a moistening of the eye,
In a movement of the wind over grass.
There were no prayers said. But stillness
Of the heart’s passions — that was praise
Enough; and the mind’s cession
Of its kingdom. I walked on,
Simple and poor, while the air crumbled
And broke on me generously as bread.
R.S. Thomas “The Moor”

How can I feel so warm   
Here in the dead center of January? I can   
Scarcely believe it, and yet I have to, this is   
The only life I have. 
~James Wright from “A Winter Daybreak Above Vence”

Last night was a once a year sunset experience in the dead center of January, following a full day of pouring-rain gray-skies monochrome nothingness.

For twenty minutes our region was blissed to witness an evolving array of crimson and purple color and patterns, streaks and swirls, gradation and gradual decline.

It all took place in silence.  No bird song, no wind, no spoken prayer.
Yet a communion took place – the air broke and fed us like manna from heaven. And so filled to the brim…

May I squander my life no more and instead treasure each moment.

May I vow to cherish God, church, family, friends, and those in my community who are strangers to me.

May I never forget my witness this winter day of the bleeding of the last light of day.


Make a one-time or recurring donation to support Barnstorming

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is deeply appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

3 thoughts on “Watching Ensanguining Skies

  1. Incredible, hardly believable sky–so awesome, that you had the ability to capture it, though I’m sure photos could hardly do it justice. But you were able to experience it! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good evening, Emily,
    Like you, we have had these dramatic red skies at sunset which really stop one dead in one’s tracks.. But perhaps NOT like you, I learned last Sunday that I had tested positive for Covid. This has led to a jumble of emotions. When was I infected? I just learned that the lab-based PCR will stay positive for up to four weeks. So, did I become infectious that long ago? Feelings of relief, guilt, and more. But also a sense of liberation from having to fear, judge, etc.
    Like you, I pray, “May I squander my life no more and instead treasure each moment. May I vow to cherish God, church, family, friends, and those in my community who are strangers to me.”
    May I learn to forgive and open my heart again.
    Emily, listening to “Light beyond shadow” brought me a peace that I have not known for ‘way too long. Thank you.
    Betsy T.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Caught my breath as I imagined so many possible meanings to describe this transfixing picture, and
    the thoughtful, applicable phrase:”…day of the bleeding of the last light of day.”
    (This phrase could well describe ‘”…sadness of endings, hope for beginnings (birth, death, friendships,
    marriages, journeys.)
    Thank you for describing such a sweet, precious sight to fill and nourish your soul, dear Emily.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.