Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Slow Turn

 I am in bed, sound sleep, while this planet turns slowly. It scrolls slowly to me, appropriately at the head of my bed, lifting Orion from the eastern horizon, then a last quarter moon and finally, after I am awake again, the sun. This gentle slide is imperceptible: if I watch the stars seem stationery. But it is bring to me a quarter degree of sky every minute, 15° each hour, and so the view is renewed constantly.The sky, this very world, is changing by the minute.

 When I carry the trash out at 7:45 am, that half a moon hangs now in the southwest, still high in the sky so that I must look upwards to see it. The sky is still dark, the moon a brilliant white. I separate the trash from the recyclables, carry compost to the garden, my feet crunching on re-frozen snow that crusted on this cold night. It is 4°.

 Later, when I am back inside and have warmed, Mom calls me to the kitchen window. The sun has risen but it is still low and shadows of the trees cut across the snowy lawn like black knives. Owing to the low angle, the snow comes into high relief, small pockets thrust down deep, dimples that seemed not there when the sun was high yesterday.

 The sky is reflected blue in the snow, the sun not high enough to cast a golden light. It is still at the edge of night as the sun casts its first light across our north lawn.

Walking to the south living room window, I see already a warmer scene. Colors begin to appear. At the right of this scene our metal well-head pushes through the snow, already sunk from 7" to a mere 3". School is still out for the holiday so there is little traffic. Those who are working have left long ago; those who are not are either in still in bed or, like me, about their early business.

 The planet turns a few more degrees, pulling the sun ever higher in the east. It has already begun its slow move northward, nearly two weeks after the winter solstice, and it is inching slowly higher with each passing day.
 Just risen above the small wooded area on Venus Road, the sun slants shadows low and long. Our mailbox seems twenty feet high. The snow holds a rough texture that will soften as the sun climbs higher.
 Throughout the day the sun will arc across the southern sky. Tomorrow I will find it a few more seconds removed from today's position. It is winter and yet winter is receding behind us. There is hope that spring is just ahead. The promise is written in shadows.

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