Crepuscular rays – sometimes called “Fingers of God” - are one example of visible, though ephemeral, atmospheric optics. Merriam-Webster defines a crepuscular ray as “a streak of light that seems to radiate from the sun shortly before or after sunset when sunlight shines through a break in the clouds or a notch in the horizon line and illuminates atmospheric haze or dust particles.” It should be noted that they also occur frequently at sunrise, although technically "crepuscular" is derived from the Latin referring to "twilight." They are common, but fleeting, in the High Desert of the American Southwest. Loving the light of New Mexico, I am nearly always out for sunrises and sunsets. Because of that, I have been fortunate to see and photograph a variety of crepuscular rays in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I find them uplifting, whether at the beginning or ending of a day.
D. H. Lawrence, requoted in New Mexico Magazine "I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I have ever had. It certainly changed me forever. . . . the moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine high up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend. . . . In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly and the old world gave way to a new. There are all kinds of beauty in the world, thank God, though ugliness is homogeneous. . . . But for a greatness of beauty I have never experienced anything like New Mexico."
Keywords:Albuquerque, Albuquerque, New Mexico, American Southwest, New Mexico, atmospheric optics, atmospheric phenomena, crepuscular rays, light, skies, sky, sunrise, sunset
© Susan Brandt Graham 2009-2021, All Rights Reserved