Monday, January 16, 2012

A Winter's Sunrise

 Already the cold has begun to abate. It was 30° as I began my walk, 35° as I ended it. I came into the house damp with sweat. A heavy long-sleeve shirt, hoodie and winter coat was too much. How quickly it changes. A few days ago it would not have been nearly enough.
 And yet I am happy for the break. It is breathing room. As I walked, sky still clear and blue overhead, the southwestern horizon displayed gathering clouds that spread upon me and lowered as I walked. It was like having a thick gray woolen blanket pulled across my head.

 As I walked out our driveway, the Shell farm, across the field to our east, shows the heavy gray cloud deck moving towards Dayton. Even so, there is a slit at the horizon and the sun glows orange at about 8:15 am. It is going to be a dark, solemn day; there is no doubt about rain approaching.

 And yet as I turn around and hoof back Sam's lane, the northwestern sky is still a lovely baby blue. Puffy cumulus begin to dot the atmosphere along with jet contrails, businessmen already on their way to heaven-knows-where. I love the bare trees just now, thin black branches etched against the cool blue. It is a bracing time of year, one I would not want to miss even though I hate to pay to heat the house.

 A little farther back and the tree which stood at the right of the previous picture now command the foreground. In mere minutes, the clouds have moved and new contrails blossom. It is deadly quiet this morning. Not a dog barks (the cold air, the rising sun must mean time to crawl back into their bed of straw and sleep). And yet, as I turn to walk back out the lane I hear something that reminds me of thunder - it cannot be. It is a ponderous boom, due west of me, and must be some work being conducted near the village. As I walk further it repeats a single time. And both times I stopped in my tracks,  turned around and watched the sky. I saw nothing.

Now, though, is a good time to take a panorama of the sky, now before the clouds have given the atmosphere a common, boring, thick gray. I start on the north, swing eastward, favor the sky and not the horizon, stop when the frame holds a thin smear of sunset at its right edge. The shot covers about 100°.

Trouble is, a panorama that dismisses the rule of holding the camera level, means that the shots must be stitched together at odd angles producing a weird result. And yet, dismissing this, the sky was my subject and the sky takes center stage as it should.

We'll have a cloudy day. Later rain will begin to overspread the area (not snow as the temperatures of a few days ago would have suggested). By evening it will be raining and we'll have a rainy night. What? Half, three-quarters of an inch? It will be wet, muddy again. The pond's ice will melt. Winter is on the calendar but spring keeps snatching the very air.

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