Friday, March 13, 2009


I find myself always on the lookout for beauty while I'm over here Down Range.

Perhaps that's a predictable outcome of living in a place where so much is monochromatic of the gray or brown variety. I'm not sure. I haven't heard anyone else over here mention it, at least not in that way.

So as I'm walking, especially over unfamiliar terrain, I look down. A lot.

Trudging through gravel, I keep hoping to find a treasure. Perhaps a fossil. Some tiny, ancient artifact. At the very least, while the weather has been cool-ish, I've looked for (and occasionally found) a flower or two.

Because the sunlight can be so intense here, I don't often look up at the sun, unless it's rising or setting. One thing I'd heard about Iraq is that the sunrises and sunsets can be very beautiful. That's certainly been true in my experience. At least when we can see the sky! (Given that I'm often at work late these days, I see many more sunsets than sunrises at the moment.)

Lately, we have been experiencing a lot of dust in the air, sometimes to the point of making it seem as though it's dusk when it's only early afternoon. On those days when the dust is so thick the aircraft don't fly, the daylight just seems to shrug its way into darkness, rather that putting up the valiant, colorful fight that usually ensues when there's not so much particulate matter in the air.

Since I arrived here Down Range, there have been some rather gorgeous sunsets. My camera is tiny, and under low light conditions my 'idiopathic benign essential tremor' can really get in the way. But I wanted to share with you a few shots that give some indication as to what nightfall can be like.
1 The mighty one, God the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth. (NRSV: Ps 50:1-2)

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ
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