For as long as I can remember (and even longer, I’m sure), the city of Chiang Mai has nestled in the shadows at the foot of Doi Suthep (doh-ee soo-taep). The sun always sets behind the mountain… and yet it is never quite finished. Daylight lingers into dusk long after the sun has disappeared over the top of the mountain until, at last, the sun finally sets in some far distant place. As it slides slowly into that place, the sun paints the skies with incredible colors. Now, as the rainy season approaches, those colors are muted and magnified into a wonderful spectrum of blues and purples and pinks – like a beautiful impressionist painting. And, from the place where I am now living, I can see it all.
During the rainy season, clouds billow into the sky like huge white puffy sails, shifting and changing constantly with the wandering winds. Sometimes, the clouds sit below the mountain top, obscuring the mountain, but not the peak (as in the first thumbnail below). Sometimes, the clouds gather over the mountains and turn the skies dark and gloomy in mid-afternoon. (I usually appreciate this, because my windows face west and the afternoon sun can be very, very hot.)
On this particular afternoon, I witnessed the clouds gathering and decided to watch for a time. It did not take long for the clouds to let loose their treasure-trove of rain – first on the mountain itself (left) and later on the city near the mountain (see second thumbnail), totally obscuring the mountain from view. Despite the power of that rainstorm in the distance, those of us on the east side of the river did not receive very much that day – just a gentle shower. And, after a time, the mountain re-appeared. A quiet, clear and yet still beautiful sunset followed (see thumbnail below).
But my favorite photo of the mountain that I have taken from my apartment this year is this one. This one reminds me of the Greek New Testament passage (Matthew 3:16) where God tears open the heavens and allows His glory to shine down on His beloved Son after Jesus was baptized by John. It was just a whisper of time and the image was gone, but somehow I was able to capture it on film. It remains my favorite photo of clouds… of the mountain… of God’s enduring glory.
More photos of the mountain (double-click to enlarge):