Sunset

daisy fleabane

The fleabane points its dishes toward every point of the compass for maximum reception. Nectar above, poison in the leaves below: I am the light says the sun, neglecting to mention the deadly solar wind. Without a magnetic field, there’d be no life to recapitulate the slow turning & circling of celestial bodies.

lekking gnats

In the late afternoon, male gnats coalasce into dense clouds, hovering until sunset above some bush or patch of grass that females of the same species might find attractive. Obscure even to each other, able to vanish in the light of noon, they magnify their microgravities into a dark conflagration of need.

sunset

As for me, I’ve discovered this before: turning my back to the sunset — that photographic cliché — does no good whatsoever. I have too much at stake: where would any of us be without our mental habits? What new ground would support us? Five hundred years after Copernicus, accurate knowledge about the rotation of the earth does nothing to prevent this fiery idol of ours from continuing to travel an alabaster sky and descending each evening into the earth.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

10 Comments


  1. You’ll forgive me the sin of self-quotation:

    “It was all over for us when we started to believe that because the earth was round it could no longer be flat.”

    Reply

  2. Am I seeing several types of insects on the fleabane? That last photo is very intriguing – please tell me more about it.

    As for sunsets, we had a superb scarlet sky last night but I resisted taking a photo this time – is is your influence, Dave?!

    Reply

  3. The bottom photo shows the side of the springhouse in the last rays of the sun before it goes behind the ridge (about 45 minutes before the actual sunset). I increased the contrast by just a little. The foreground silhouettes are cattail leaves.

    I’m no insect expert, but it looks to me five different species on the fleabane. The one in front appears to be an Italian honeybee. To its right and left are wasps, and the ones at the top are flies. That’s all I can tell you without further investigation.

    Reply

  4. HOW do the gnats vanish in the light of the moon?
    I love the fiery idol in the alabaster sky. In fact I love it all, as ever.

    Reply

  5. Thanks, twitches and Lucy.

    (That’s the light of NOON, not moon.)

    Reply

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