It is late evening on Wednesday (10/03) and I'm relaxing on the sofa with the TV on. Time to unwind. Always the weather aficionado, I keep one eye on the window ... just in case. That's when I noticed the sky growing orange. An add color began lighting the white window curtains from behind. I knew that an unusual sunset was underway.
Clad in pajamas, who cares?, I climb the stairs quickly to my bedroom and grab my camera from the desk drawer. I grab my shoes as I pass them and I'm out the back door within a couple of minutes.
The sky is like looking on a wave of lava from beneath. There in the west, the sun has already set but still projects itself on the cloud bottoms. They lift into high relief, take a whole rainbow along their lower edges: reds, oranges, purples ... the sky of blue beyond. Pines offer a dark contrast.
If I walk to the field - the corn is now cut - I have an unobstructed view of the horizon. It is molten orange, lemon yellow, gold.
And yet as quickly as I have hurried, nature knows no timetable but her own. Within mere minutes - perhaps no more than two - the colors begin to fade, are bled away from the scene as the sun drops ever lower. The large tree on the left stands besides Sam's lane and I walk beneath its familiar branches every day of my life. But now it darkens and becomes surreal, another creature of the gathering night. It seems to reach and touch the sky with bony fingers.
At this point, I turned and walked back towards the house. When I put my hand on the door latch, I turned back around for a final look and saw that there was no longer anything to see. The sky had turned an ashen gray; the glory was gone.
But the next morning I was awakened by a brief and unexpected shower. I heard a car pass the house, splashing as it went. I got up in the dark. When I went outside to read the rain gauge, I saw that the sun was trying to break through the clouds. I had almost been present for its leaving and now I was there for its return. While I slept, the world revolved and I had, it seemed, merely turned around.
I can see what's about to happen so I run inside again and grab my camera. I'm standing beneath the dripping trees when the first shaft of sunlight stabs through the morning darkness. Framed inside Pinehaven's trees, another day begins.
Didn't Thoreau say it was enough to be present?