Desert dust skies


I’ll never forget a moment in my college years when I was exclaiming over a particularly vivid Houston sunset. A friend remarked, “You know that’s because of pollution, right?” I probably responded with an exasperated sigh — so much for the romance of natural beauty! — but of course she was right.

Last week we enjoyed color-suffused skies here in Austin thanks to dust blown all the way from the Sahara Desert in Africa. I know it’s just dirt in the air, but in my imagining it floats here from undulating, tawny dunes right out of The English Patient. Still a romantic at heart. And why not? Just look at the colors that blossom from low sunlight beaming through wayward desert dust.


I admired the skies again a few days later — this time a golden sunrise and the sinuous silhouettes of live oaks reflected in an office building’s windows. As a cool counterpoint in the foreground, silvery blue agaves add their own sinuous, serrated-leaved echo.

Air pollution. Erosion. Prosaic office parks. You never know when something undesirable will give rise to something beautiful. Keep your eyes open, friends.

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10 Responses

  1. Robin Peckover says:

    The thicker and deeper the mud, the more beautiful the lotus blooms. Redemption, in all its forms, is one of the powerful mysteries.

  2. rickii says:

    When Mt St Helens erupted, we had the most beautiful sunsets imaginable.

  3. Eyes open and ears closed to those that can’t relax and enjoy what the world has to offer in beauty.

  4. Kris P says:

    You’d think we’d have better sunsets every single day here in LA County! Thanks for sharing yours.

  5. The Sahara and Himalayas influence more than we realize, I keep hearing! Too bad the latter can’t send you some cooling relief from the D*ath Star.

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