This terrible beauty, this eerie sunset of doom is quarantined by a photograph. Here it appears as something from a saccharine dream of candied romance. But in reality it is the harbinger of destruction. Of the heat waves and fire season that people from drought stricken areas such as mine know to loathe.
Comfort and beauty intertwine and comfort finds a way to snake back around and bite harder the hand that wished this world were without the pain baked into all things. Beauty becomes a mirage that blinds the beholder to the harsher truth it conceals. I flinch during this time when people say “look at the sunset” as if it were just a sight to behold devoid of this brutal context where people lose their homes and vast numbers of animals lose their lives and habitats. Then I’ll catch myself saying the same thing and cringe at my mindlessness (but of course blame it on the debilitating heat).
It’s as if it is deep in human nature to live for the postcard image even though it’s a cheap ten cent glimmer of hope. Any shine at all will do to whet the appetite for the notion that things will be alright. As do I reluctantly grab the camera and take the exposure knowing that this outcome will result. An image taken in guilt yet into which I cannot bake the pain to inspire true revelation or change even in my own habits. These petty words trail like an anguished afterthought in a time when comfort (and its twin – convenience) is the business of the day and the sunset has become the barrier signifying the mystery of a collective denial seen as a brilliant display that might as well have been put on by the Dynamation gods in a Ray Harryhausen movie.