One of the spectacular perks to being on top of a mountain set inside of a bowl that rests inside the entire mountain range of Jefferson National Forest in Bland, is that we get views of the sun rising and setting. Breathtaking, make-you-want-to-weep views that break my heart when I think of all the mornings and evenings that I cannot be here and miss their glory.

I have many great pictures taken with a better camera than this one on my phone, but today it is all I have. I think you’ll get the idea of its fiery morning light echoing through the atmosphere as it peeks out from behind the mountain top. There have been mornings when I took successive shots of its rise into the sky.

The thing is, I find it equally amazing during the day, as it acts as a sort of sun dial, casting shadow of one mountain face onto another as it rises higher and higher and makes its way west before putting on another show when it drops behind the opposite ridge of mountains.

I have written about the stars here, their abundance and brilliance. It reminds me of the little church in Rome, Italy where St. Catherine’s bones lie beneath its canopy and how spiritually blessed we felt. It was near the Pantheon and how happy we were when we walked through its open door and experienced the awe we had so sorely missed in the Sistine Chapel. I remembered an anecdote about the ceiling Michelangelo painted his brilliant masterpiece over; it was a navy ceiling with stars, like the one we found so moving, like the one I find here in Bland, Virginia. This is what they recreated, God’s art and architecture. I suppose this is an appropriate summation for a Sunday morning.

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