Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Charn Sunset


The light from the setting sun was blood red on the trunks of the gum trees as I walked through Westerfolds Park this evening. The smoke from the bushfires is a feint haze in the air, but more than enough change the light to remind me of the old world of Charn, in C.S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew, a book that I hadn't thought about for years.
Low down and near the horizon hung a great, red sun, far bigger than our sun. Digory felt at once that it was also older than ours: a sun near the end of its life, weary of looking down upon the world. To the left of the sun, and higher up, there was a single star, big and bright. Those were the only two things to be seen in the dark sky; they made a dismal group. And on the earth, in every direction, as far as the eye could reach, there spread a vast city in which there was no living thing to be seen. And all the temples, towers, palaces, pyramids, and bridges cast long, disastrous-looking shadows in the light of that whithered sun. Once a great river had flowed through the city, but the water had long since vanished, and it was now only a wide ditch of grey dust.
There are rivers and lakes in this country that are little more than dust, thanks to the drought, and with a Prime Minister who is gung-ho for nuclear power, is it so strange to think of a world being destroyed by "magic"?

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