Have you ever sat in the evening to watch the sunset? Looked into its white rays during the last twenty minutes of its descent? What did you see?
Every land is different, and I can’t speak for city streets where no trees or wildflowers grow. I’ve never sat to watch the sun set there. But I can speak for the country.
Many times I’ve taken a break from gardening or working around the yard to admire the last moments of daylight. The best place to sit to watch Earth’s magic show is in shade. From this viewpoint, I look towards the sun. This won’t work if it’s cloudy. When the sun is in clear sky, it illuminates what I normally don’t see. In fact, looking to the right or left as the sun sets exposes nothing special. I must look directly towards the sun.
What do I see?
I see birds of all sizes, including hummingbirds as they zip to-and-fro. I see bees, hornets, horseflies and other fliers of similar size. I see mosquitoes, thousands of them. I see winged insects flitting about in swarms and on individual journeys. Mixed with this is dust, dandelion and other flower seeds, single strands of a spider’s web and debris floating in the air. What makes up the debris in anyone’s guess.
Between me and the object in the distance, say a house or line of trees, there are hundreds of thousands of objects in the air. Common sense tells me they are not all gathering before me to dance in the sunlight. They are everywhere. To my left and right and above. I am surrounded by them. I just can’t see them.
If I were to walk only 12 feet, I would smash into thousands of things, yet I wouldn’t know it. I might see a mosquito or a bee, but the majority of things I’m seeing in the air would be invisible to my eye.
I imagine a good many things aren’t seen because we need specific light to see them. The sharp light of the setting sun highlights what would otherwise be invisible.
One claim is we see only 1% of the visible light spectrum. That means 99% of our world is invisible to us. I wonder what dances in those shades of light.
Devices such as infrared glasses allow us to see infrared, which is too red for our eye to register. Warm-blooded beings radiate infrared light, yet we don’t see this red halo.
The second reason we don’t see all these things in the air is because our brains ignore it. We can’t handle the activity. I wonder if a newborn sees it, becomes familiar with it, then blocks it out by the time they learn to walk. It’s like white noise but to the eye.
The blindness of humans makes me wonder what fantastical creatures may be sitting next to us when we stop for a break on a rock while hiking or while we toil away in the garden.
Viewing the world as enchanted has been figuratively beaten out of us by the time we are adults. We are taught to accept this dreary, magicless world as reality. I refuse.
This world is filled magic. We need only to relearn how to see it. Believing it exists is the first step. Catching glimpses of it at sunset allows the believing to begin.