As if Utah sunsets are not already spectacular enough…
This was the sky over Canyonlands National Park on the evening of November 17th, 2013 looking north from the perch atop Big Spring Canyon Overlook. You can just make out The Needles formations in the sunset glow along the western horizon to the left. The area just below our perch to the right is Squaw Flat, which we had completely to ourselves for two days with only a couple of resident Park Rangers stationed at the Needles Outpost 10 or so miles away.
The picture above offers a mere glimpse into the magic in the captured moment. To start, the air was perfectly clear. No artificial light within view in any direction as far as the eye could see. And but for the occasional breathless ‘wow’ and chime-like clinking of two appreciation-filled aluminum beer cans, the air was perfectly silent and calm. No breeze. No time-ticking. No nothing.
We were quite literally immersed in a still-life reality.
As the sky flowed slowly through the spectacular colors you see, an extraordinary thing happened that neither I nor my very-well-traveled counterpart had ever witnessed. Across both the northern sky in the photo above and the southern sky in the photo below, multiple shadows appeared out of the eastern horizon and arced all the way across both skies into the western sunset. Can you see them?
An awe-inspiring phenomenon, it was, and we sat for a while and puzzled over it until suddenly we remembered that this was the night of the full moon – the Beaver Moon. At the origin of those towering shadow arcs along the orange-glowing eastern horizon is precisely where the moon would soon rise. As it happens, also at that point along the horizon is the La Sal Mountain Range in Eastern Utah rising to over 12,000ft.
A perfect time and place, if ever there was one, for a sacred salutation to the sun.
And so says The Wiser Amuser:
“On your shadow shines a light.”
With love and gratitude. Good night.