We have always been attracted to the sparkle. And the world, while seeming to have an abundance, has portioned it out to hidden places, fleeting moments, and sacred times. This is probably why it has kept its allure so long. Sparkle holds for us all the excitement of encountering something rare. Our reaction to it is built into our very genes. We get an emotional charge when we see it. But what happens when this sparkle is no longer hidden, or fleeting, or sacred?
The other night we were treated to an hours-long lightning storm on a drive home from a family event. Lightning is something to see because it is at once terrifying and beautiful. One feels the dual need to both run and hide from it and to stand out and gaze at it. It demands both admiration and respect.
The sky produces humankind’s first and most abundant sparkles. The sun is our most admired and important one. It burns violently in its place but it is how it bounces off our surroundings that truly romances us. It shimmers on the water, it casts the alpenglow off the mountains and sets the sky into every shade of the palette when it rises and sets.
But it is the other stars that capture the essence of sparkle in our imaginations. We have looked to the stars for guides not just for travel but to make sense of our world. We have labeled them as our heavens and have found our gods amongst them. We have stared at them for hours in hopes of seeing them shoot across the sky so we may make a wish and capture a good omen.
Sparkles can be found across nature. Bioluminescence can be found on the surface of the darkening sea. Water crystallizes and gives us snow and ice. The earth even crystallizes and gives us luminescent gemstones. One such gemstone has so captivated our senses and imaginations that it has become synonymous with love and fidelity to a huge portion of our planet, causing a great demand and therefore skyrocketing its value to the detriment of both the planet and to humans.
Fire is perhaps the most favored sparkle of humankind. It warms and hypnotizes us. We don’t just sit around a fire for warmth but we stare into it. Some become enchanted with fire at a young age. I still can’t forget my brothers’ lighting goat’s beard moss at the base of trees to see the fire wick its way rapidly to the top! We light a candle to set the mood. We light a…