Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Sky Above

 The sky this week has been spectacular at every turn. Two days ago (10/13/11) I happened to walk out the driveway for the morning paper and this is the first sight I saw.

 The sun was rising behind the "Shell farm" on Venus Road and the old house presented an interesting subject as the sun rose behind it. The sky took on shades of lavender as the clouds took over. The day turned out to be cloudy and this was to be our total enjoyment of the sun. But think of that time when it first rose, when the air was still foggy with its nighttime mist, when the world was still partly wrapped in dreary dampness.

 By last evening (10/14/11) I decided that the few clouds we had overhead might spell a spectacular sunset. But it was not to be. I donned a robe over my pajamas and walked into the cut soybeans to our west. I was surprised to see gathering clouds. I had not been there a moment when I heard thunder to the southwest.

 And yet to the northwest, the sunset lit a small opening in the clouds. This small rosy area was still warm with the day's light while to the west the sky turned sombre and dark. This apricot opening stole my attention for a few minutes.

 Directly to the west, vigra fell heavily from an upper layer of clouds. It is rain, plain and simple, which evaporates before hitting the ground. With the dark backdrop, the rain slanted down and the view changed by the moment.

All the while, the opening to the north began closing in. The light fell as sunset progressed at just past 7 p.m.

 Another minute and the scene changed yet the more. The wind blew and the air cooled as my robe whipped about my legs. I did not want to stay - it was becoming too uncomfortably cool - but I could not take my eyes away from the clouds. The day was ending on a booming note and I wanted to hear what was being played.

 To the west, again, the virga fell in streams. It looked like dark, dirty smudges of coal dust, shaken from above.

 A closer view and it seems as though the clouds are coming apart at their seams, dropping whatever dark matter is hidden inside. This, it turns out, is exactly the case. The encased moisture has grown large enough drops to let loose but the air is still dry enough to gobble them back up before they hit the ground. It is the usually invisible cycle of cloud to cloud made visible.

 As I turned for the house, a torrent began to fall and yet I stayed dry. No more than a few drops fell later in the evening, when I was back within the house and buried beneath a warm knitted quilt. I heard the rain began to tap on the fallen leaves just outside the window. But it was short-lived and almost as soon as I heard it begin, it ended.

 And so this morning (10/15/11 at 7:54 a.m.) the sun rose clear and painted the horizon a vivid orange. Though these trees as half a mile away, they send their shadows my way for a few minutes until the sun has cleared their tops and bathed Pinehaven in an autumn light. It is cool ... 48° ... but the day dawns perfectly clear and we will enjoy Indian Summer at its best.

 Walking back to the house, ready to enjoy breakfast with my mother (who is celebrating her 86th birthday today) and brother, I look up through the maple at the corner of the house and see that as the sun rises, the moon prepares to set. It is just beyond full and it shines its cold, white light in the west where I watched the storm clouds gather not just twelve hours before.
 I love these cycles: cool and warm, wet and dry, calm and windy. Change is what I live for. Every day follows the same cycle and yet each is different. There is never an excuse to be bored.