If you are an early riser as I am, you have likely been audience to some amazing sunrises these past days. I am unsure why at this time of year, in this particular climate, the sky wants to dress itself up as if the whole day will be a grand ball complete with young women decked out in feathery, multi-colored ball gowns that vaguely resemble clouds. Is it the January light setting its sights on the spring we all have begun to talk about, dream about, plan for? Is the sky filled with an invisible moisture that creates the pinks, purples and indigo hues that paint the heavens just as the first peek of the Sun makes its entrance over the horizon? These are the times I wish I had paid more attention in science class. Perhaps I might be able to answer my own questions.
But I am not sure that any scientific understanding of the dawntime phenomenon would be adequate. The show of sky and light seems to me more worthy of poetry or music and certainly silence. The awe it elicits would not find justice, at least for me, in any rational explanation. What it calls for is something much more….prayer…..praise…..adoration….reverence.
One morning I had been busy over something that seemed immensely important, looking down at my computer, pecking away frantically at the keyboard. Out of the morning quiet, my husband urged me to turn my head and look out the window. The sky was hot pink, deep orange, lemon yellow, brilliant purple at the level of the horizon we glimpsed through the trees. While we watched, within moments somehow, the colored lights flipped upward and flooded the puffy, marshmallow-like clouds with purple and pink causing them to look like cotton candy hanging in the sky. There were no words……only the feeling that you had been privileged by something that verged on miraculous.
And then within what seemed like the blink of an eye it was all gone. All gone. The sky seemed ‘normal’ again. Blue, though not overly so. Clouds without any particular sheen or sparkle. Just there. They promised to make the upcoming day one more day of meteorological ‘Partly Cloudy’. It was stunning to realize how fleeting the beauty was, how fleeting the experience of that beauty. It felt like a punch to the chest. I wondered at the blessing of seeing such a morning begin while also feeling a sadness at how quickly it took a turn.
The experience of this bright and brilliant morning caused me to think of all the fleeting moments that pass through our days, through our lives. We have all had those moments on which our life seemed to turn for better or worse. A look full of love across a table and a beloved is discovered and things seem to change in a forever kind of way. And then there are the fleeting moments of children growing up and the wondering where the time went and why we didn’t pay more attention, why we focused on the petty,seemingly urgent and not on the precious present of a giggle of a small hand held against our face. Looking back at photos of these young ones we try to conjure up the full hearted experience of those fleeting moments.
Thinking along these lines reminded of a poem by Jane Kenyon in which she talks of the ordinary things that begin her day with the husband she loves. A cup of coffee shared. Breakfast at a simple kitchen table. Reading the paper together. She celebrates these moments and ends each celebration with the words ‘some day it will be otherwise’. In its writing the poem recognizes the fleeting nature of the beauty which graces the every day…..and the reality that someday that beauty, that grace, will be no longer present for us. Like the quickly changing colors of a January morning, it will be otherwise.
And so on this day, may we all open our eyes to the gifts that show up in all their ordinary splendor. May we celebrate them and relish them and honor the fleeting brush with which they paint the canvas that is our living. Somehow the fleeting nature of it all makes it ever so much more precious.