Saturday, January 12, 2013

Nature photos in the News

"Jerusalem has many colors.  But when she is white, it's so rare, so beautiful, so unifying."   
Israeli president Shimon Perez quoted in Washington Post, 10 Jan 2013.  

Upper Left:  Winter Morning Yosemite by Tony Williams for National Geographic, Photo Contest November 2012.  
Upper right: a supernova from recent massive star explosion,, 9 January 2013.  Spectacular!
Lower Left: Photo by Tom Molczynski, "The landscape in front of him took on a life of its own,"  as a flock of snow geese took off at Merrill Creek Resevoir, Washington, NJ, 9 January 2012.  
Lower Right:  an artist creates ice castles in Utah, flikr photo, 9 January 2013.   

I love the photos and stories about nature experiences and weather phenomenon that stream dramatically between news of senseless murders with assault weapons; fiscal cliffs and political shenanigans; tragic ferry, crane and auto accidents; the dismal state of affairs in the Middle East, Syria, Afghanistan;  the deaths of contemporary authors, artists and actors who composed our cultural fabric; and other daily news selected by the media for us to see, the more tragic the better in terms of media coverage. 

The nature stories don't diminish the importance of the others, but they do take us to other worlds, worlds of wonder, beauty and mystery, and hope.

They take us to larger views of our planet and the cosmos. They remind us that Earth is only "a pale blue dot," as astrophysicist Carl Sagan called it, a speck in an eternal, ever-expanding universe. They remind us that our lives are short, and maybe shouldn't be taken too seriously, while the cosmos is endless, without beginning or end.

Sometimes the nature stories and spectacular photos are what we need to wend our way through bad news, sad news, tragic news.  The good balances the bad, the beautiful the ugly, the benign the malignant, the hopeless the dreams of harmony on the little planet on which we live.

The snowstorm that fell on the Middle East, on Syria and Jerusalem, might have caused traffic jams, misery, and havoc, but it also brought respite from war and fighting.  How heartening to see photos of Syrians (above)  playing in the snow, finding joy and laughter, in the war-torn city of Damascus under the tyrannical Assad (Reuters photo on Yahoo).  And how lovely Jerusalem in white, covered in snow (top)

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