Nature is God’s gift to us all
We take for granted many of our greatest blessings. One of these is nature itself. I’m always amazed at its complexity and diversity. God could have plunked us down into a desert with springs of water and let us eat manna every day. But He didn’t.
He gave us endless varieties of flowers and trees. The trees produce delicious fruits and nuts. Even the grasses provide grains for us to eat, and many plant parts provide us with colorful fruits and vegetables. But this was not enough He also wrapped all of nature in the ever-changing sky which covers and surrounds the rest of creation. Trees also frame many views of the sky.
Both sky and trees help me remember my own place in creation. Both speak loudly of their Creator. Combined these subjects occupy more space in my digital photo albums than any others. They are often combined in the same photos, such as the photo above. I see some variation of that view every day. It’s what I see from my office window and when I step out my front door.
Clouds after a February rain
The sky always seems most decorative just before or after rain. One February day in 2014 it rained. After the rain stopped, the earth and sky looked fresh and new. After I left a doctor appointment, I wanted to get somewhere with a great view of the sky, since the sun was about to set. The clouds were putting on a show. I wanted to capture some of it. The only place I could get to fast enough was the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge in Paso Robles.
The bridge crosses the Salinas River and there is a hiking trail with an entrance from the bridge. The trail is part of what’s known as the Salinas River Trail, and it goes along the river and through an area kept mostly as a wilderness. Only a hedge and a slope separate the trail from the back of a shopping center anchored by Albertson’s. There is also a Wendy’s next to it and I parked in its lot near the road and walked to the bridge with my camera, in quest of sky views.
Photographs of the sky from the bridge
My plan was to walk across the bridge, which is a long one, and back, taking pictures as I ambled along. I took over 130 photos from the bridge and from just inside the park on the hiking trail. My goal was to capture the sky.
This first photo was taken looking east before the sun had actually started to set. The banner above the fence is an announcement of the 125th birthday of the incorporation of Paso Robles. The buildings you see are the tops of Walmart, the top of the Kennedy Fitness Center against the hill in the back, and a housing tract on the hilltop.
Of course, I could not just share one photo of this spectacular sky. This next shot was taken looking down at the 101 Freeway as it headed northwest toward 13th Street.
This last sky photo in this series, below, was taken from the parking lot behind Wendy’s as it looks into the park. Only some hedges and a slope separate the parking lot from the trail.
These photos above (except for the top two) were all taken within half an hour of each other of the same clouds from different angles and at different stages of the sun setting. They will help you understand why I never get bored with the sky.
I know that no matter where I live, unless I cannot get outside to see it, I will always have a sky to watch and the sun that rises and sets. I hope I will also always have some trees to frame the beauty of the sky. The sky and the trees are a daily reminder of the power and love of God, who created them.
They are also a reminder that God gives these good gifts to all. He gives them to people with any skin color, any religious or political belief, or any economic status. He does not reserve these gifts for those who please him.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5: 43–45 ESV
A rich person has no better view of the sky than the poorest person. The poor see as many colors in the sky as the rich. Any seeing person can look up. As we observe the sky, we can all glimpse one expression of the great love our creator has for us.