One day, the sun didn’t rise.
The world fell into chaos. Some people said, “we have never seen anything like this.” Others said, “well actually, this has happened once before, about a hundred years ago — my grandparents told me about it.” Yet others said, “what do you mean the sun didn’t rise? We still have light, you’re whining for no reason.”
For a little while, people did what they could to get by. They used batteries and lit fires and stocked up on candles. They waited for the sun to return, but she didn’t. In time, all the plants died, and the people grew accustomed to darkness. The world lost its depth and everything became two dimensional. Life evolved to get on without the sun. After all, there was still distant starlight from the other stars. But it was always night.
One day, a silhouette (for that is what all people had become) was walking along a deserted beach. He looked up into the sky, towards where the sun used to be. He reminisced about the good old days when sunlight was a thing, and the world had more than just dim starlight — which is all the children of this age had ever seen. He wished there could be just one more day of real light, just so that his own children could know the things he had known.
But the sun had not risen in so long. No one had ever worked out why.
The anguished silhouette did not know how to bring back the sun, but he knew how to start a fire. It was a useless skill these days, since no one really needed light anymore, but driven by nostalgia and intense longing for the golden past, he made a spark anyway. With the spark he made a torch, and the torch he raised towards the sky. “If only instead of my torch, I could see the sun,” he cried.
And then he saw, with furrowed brow, that the sun was, in fact, right there. An empty frame, a silhouette in the night sky, not unlike how the moon can sometimes be seen even on the nights she is absent, when she has no light.
“Oh silhouette of the sun!” the silhouette on the beach cried out. “I see you!”
“It has been a long time since anyone looked for me,” the sun responded.
“You are so loved, sun, and so missed. Why won’t you return?” the silhouette pleaded earnestly.
“I am not loved, or missed,” the sun said. “I have lost my light. I lost it years ago, but without my light, no one could see me, and not seeing me, they stopped looking for me. Not looking for me, I remained invisible. But I have been here all along.”
“I wish I could give you my light,” the silhouette wept. And they were tears of true compassion, for he saw the loneliness of the sun, falsely accused of abandoning the earth, when it was in fact the earth who had abandoned her.
“But you can,” the sun said softly. “You have been holding up that torch for seven minutes now. In one more minute the light will reach me, and I will re-ignite.”
“Eight minutes?” the silhouette processed this information in confusion. “That is how long it takes for the sun’s light to reach the earth…”
“And also how long it takes for the earth’s light to reach the sun.”
The silhouette on the beach gaped in wonder as the sparks from his torch finally hit the silhouette in the sky. The light spread across the surface like fire. But the earth remained dark.
“Eight more minutes, friend, and your light will return to you as mine,” the sun smiled.
To the world, the sun returned as mysteriously as she had left. The plants came back to life, and silhouettes became people again. Just as no one had looked for the sun when she was gone, no one checked in when she came back.
Except for the silhouette on the beach — now a full person — the Spark Bearer. He returned to that same spot every morning, made a spark, and from it a torch, and held it up into the sky for eight full minutes — so that the sun would never lose her light again.
Sweeping sky, endless beach
Ocean unfathomably deep
All is cold, dark, and flat
Behold, silhouette in hat
Bearing spark to light the sun
Before long, day will have begun
Cold and dark at once consumed
Flat filled in and form assumed
All is gently kissed by light
Hatted silhouette, ignite
Spark to turn barren scene
To teeming life, blue and green
Silhouette himself alived
His own spark full circle arrived.
Thanks to Smillew Rahcuef, pictured in the photograph above, for his kind permission to play with this concept and for being my muse for this piece.