Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Contrails and Sunsets

by Jeffery Turner

The unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates

After the time changes in the late fall and winter in Texas, the sunrises become magnificent. On those days, high clouds stream in from the west. Their filaments and strands stretch across the sky from horizon to horizon in an ever changing group of gentle shapes and sizes. Then as the sun sets, the colors change from white to pink, to purple and finally to grey .They sneak away and disappear into the dark sky as city lights, with their glow, come on one by one. Watching a sunset like that gives a sense of the greater universe.  With its changing colors, a sunset is like one’s life. Each has stages
with unique aspects, just like the ever changing colors of the clouds as light wanes giving way to night. As daylight gives to night, our lives do the same thing over the years until we are simply part of eternity.

Contrails of high flying jets also cut through the thin layers of those heavenly sheets far above. The soft white trails shoot like arrows through the smooth cirrus arching overhead. Appearing for a while, they slowly fade away, or simply disappear, as the atmosphere changes. But as they go, more come back as the transcontinental air traffic surges from coast to coast leaving new trails through the sky. They are, in a way, like the cliché “times arrow”; a symbol of the passage of time and the path our lives briefly take through eternity, fading away to make room for the lives of others.

Finally, there is the sheer beauty of these lines in the skies. Symbols form in the shape of a Christian cross or the contrails may even resemble an unfilled-in tick-tack-toe grid scribbled perhaps by the hand of God in the sky. So above us is shape and art, all from jets flying miles above our heads.

At the point of each contrail is an airplane filled with people going to who knows where. Seeing a plane with its contrail trailing behind makes one wonder who is sitting up there in those seats. Are they tourists, consultants, college kids going home, or a grandparent going to see a child and a grandchild? Do they ever think about those on the ground watching them whiz through the air? Are they watching sunsets when they are on the ground and thinking of the same wonders above and their place in the world?

So the next time you see a contrail growing above you, a line painted on a sunset, pause for a bit and spend some time underneath its arc. In a little while, there may be something wonderful on hand to view amidst the backdrop of the soft palette of a sunset on a cold winter day. It might make you dream of life and think of what is important to you.

Jeffery Turner is a member of GFW Writers. He works as an IT Manager and is the author of two books.Notes To Stephanie: Middle Aged Love Letters And Life Stories  and  Notes To Stephanie: Days Remembered. Purchase them here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great inspirational post. With the rush everyone is in these days, you're right. We need to pause and think about the beauty God created for us.

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