Above the Clouds: A Biased Sun

The space above the clouds is a curious, exciting place.  To many cultures, that space represents heaven,  the place where the gods live, and where angels guard their ward below or sing hymns of hope for those who are in despair.  Indeed, when humans are in a dire situation, they look up the skies for help.  When they encounter misfortunes, they suspect that somebody up there was not pleased, thunder and lighting being the obvious signs of that anger.  And when they are relieved of hardships, they thank the heavens. 

A dual color show: gold for the earth, blue for the skies

The same space occupies much of the human imagination.  In their dreams, they become heroes and super human beings, conquering the highest mountains and flying through the clouds, gaining the powers of those sky-bound gods they either worshiped or feared.  And, in their life goals, they aim for the stars and, in this aspect, only the sky is the limit.

I must admit to sometimes having such illusions.  Being in that space triggers the daydreaming, especially when the flight crew has turned off the cabin lights but the mind refuses to sleep and chooses to wander out to the empty space outside the window. 

Flying business class the other day, I had access to two windows — a most convenient escape route for the wandering mind.  The 7-hour flight across the Pacific was daunting, to say the least.  I have watched a full movie and the first few minutes of some, browsed and re-browsed through the in-flight magazine and the duty free catalog, and tried many times to sleep but only managed to roll on the fully reclined seat.  Giving up, I sat upright, stopped tinkering with the seat controls and just sat there, staring out the window.

And then, a grand spectacle which I would have missed had I gotten myself to sleep, happened.  The horizon started to change colors as the sun started to disappear among the clouds and, flying between and above the clouds, I became witness to the sun’s seeming bias, casting the gold and red rays to the space above the earth but maintaining blue and gray hues above the clouds. 

Not expecting this photo opportunity earlier, I have tucked my camera gear into the overhead compartment and so, fearing that I might lose the opportunity, I chose to pull out my iPhone (an XSMax I recently acquired) from my pocket and started clicking the phone camera.  Luckily, my two windows faced the setting sun for the next 20 or so minutes so I got a fair number of shots of the sunset flirting with the ever-shifting clouds.  I was convinced that a god has been orchestrating the whole show.

This series shares those images.