Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Colorful language

I watched the clouds turn color this morning as the sun rose. The first hint that I should take the time to do so was the burnished glow of the normally white house on the corner, which is visible out the window over the kitchen sink. I wondered if some new street light had been installed that changed the color temperature on that one spot, then I turned my head to the left and caught the tail end of a glistening thin cloud out the corner of the window.

Clearly, it was time to visit the back deck, where the sunrise is more easily visible.

The lower part of the horizon, just visible between the old commissary and the newer bank of 4 brick townhouses, was pale turquoise. The upper sky, much more visible above the roofs of both buildings, was the blue of a newborn baby's eyes. Between those two hues were banks of drifting clouds, first salmon-gold, then the glowing pink of an ice-skater's cheeks, then the restful warm color of a faded pink rose.

The change in color from glorious to satisfied took only a few minutes. Things change so very quickly where sunrises are involved.

A family of squirrels was already up and about as the light rose into the sky, their skitterings and races up and down the large oak tee out back were a vibrant counterpoint to the majestic unveiling of earth to sun. I counted no less than a dozen little furry bodies all a-scamper among the tremendous branches, at first mere silhouettes of frenzied energy, then turning to creatures of three dimensions as twilight gave way to day.

The old oak is a favorite gathering spot for starlings, or grackles, or some other variety of squawking bird that flies in groups of four or five, all swooping and beating their wings in unison. By the time the fur on the squirrels was visible, there was quite a crowd of black birds in the treetops talking amongst themselves. Perhaps they were deciding where to get breakfast. Perhaps they were talking about the previous evening's party. Perhaps they were nattering on about the results of the presidential primaries yesterday, who knows? Whatever they were discussing, it brought in quite a number of participants, all shouting and yelping their two bits.

School buses growled around the neighborhood streets, gathering children at regular intervals. Commuters started up their cars, slamming doors and trunks in preparation. Voices of neighbors and workmen could be heard setting plans for they day as the world woke up.

The fluffy banks of pinkly clouds turned thicker and darker as more minutes ran together. A wind kicked up. There was the smell of rain in the air. Time to go inside and make a pot of coffee. Communion was over.

As the Tiny House filled with the smell of fresh hot java, I decided that even though I'm 45 years old, I've seen far too few sunrises, and more particularly I've seen far too few in the peace of whatever those moments may bring. The ten minutes spent this morning experiencing just this one sunrise were as heartfelt as a prayer, as fulfilling as a thick slice of chocolate cake, and as luxurious as a nap on a warm summer afternoon.

Might be time to make that sort of thing a habit.

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