Sand, Sea, Surf
and the

Excerpted from a Newsletter published by Cindi Peters
Winter 1995, Vol. 1, No. 2

green flash drawing

With a little luck, some day you might glimpse one of nature's most dazzling phenomena

There's a bit of magic about a setting sun. Those of us who live near the beach are regularly treated to spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico which lure us to our balconies or to the beach at dusk.

Each sunset is glorious in its own way. But every once in a while, the setting (or rising) sun puts on a show that is truly awesome. Lasting but a few seconds just as the sun lies at the horizon, a dazzeling phenomenon known as The Green Flash sometimes occurs.

Those lucky enough to have witnessed this elusive event describe it as an abrupt strong green flash, lasting mere seconds, that occurs at the top of the setting sun just as the last part of the disk is about to dip below the horizon. It occurs only when the proper combination of atmospheric scattering, dispersion and absorption are present. Although very thin, the green rim is magnified by the atmospheric lens so that a momentary -- and breathtaking -- pulse of green appears on the crest of the sun.

Sailors have witnessed the Green Flash for thousands of years, giving way to lore and legend. One Scottish legend has it that the Green Flash will banish all errors in matters of the heart for those lucky enough to see it. Reason enough to try and espy this most spectacular of all the dazzling phenomena that grace our sky.

Legend aside, the presence of the sun is very much a celebrated part of Florida living. Its coming and going bound our daily routine, giving us long hot summer days and bright sunshiny winters. We all know that the presence or absence of sunshine can have profound effects on us -- emotionally, physically, and psychologically. The very words we use show how the sun insinuates itself into every aspect of living. A cheerful person has a "sunny" disposition; an episode of sadness is a "dark" day.

The effect of sunless gray Northern winters has recently been the subject of scientific research. The syndrome associated with a lack of sunlight has appropriately been called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Moodness, listlessness and depression are symptomatic of SAD. So whether or not you ever catch the Green Flash, the everyday warmth of the Florida sunshine is cause for celebration.

green flash drawing

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