30 January 2007

Alpenglow

Last night I dreamed of rain.


It wasn’t a dream in which rain was one of the props, there only as context for some more complex plot. No, this dream was about a heavy rain, the drops beating down like giant, silvery ball bearings. In my dream, I saw it coming down outside my den window, soaking everything, sending up a thin mist of spray up from the cement sidewalk. It drummed and spatted. I could almost hear the dry earth saying ahhhhhh. I was delighted.

That’s it. That’s all of the dream I remember.

There was no rain this morning. But when the sun rose, it bathed and tinted everything pale salmon. My nearest neighbor has a light gray roof of composite tiles. Her roof was no longer gray, but orangey pink. The bare tree branches were pink. The world was washed in salmon light. But the sky above the taller trees was blue.

It was so unusual that I went outside so I could see the sunrise causing this odd phenomenon. I looked up, east, into the sky above the tall evergreens that surround us. There were a few flat, thin clouds up there, tinted with that strange pink, motionless in a robin's-egg sky. But that was all. There was no breath-taking, fiery sunrise, at least, not from my vantage point.

A moment or two after I stepped out, the fledgling came out too. “Isn’t this the strangest light?” she asked. “It’s beautiful, but it’s ... weird. I noticed through the living room window.”

Like anyone else, I’ve seen many, many sunrises, some of them truly spectacular. But I’ve never seen anything quite like this one before, even after living here for years. I was glad I wasn’t the only one standing out there, slack-jawed with wonder in that surreal salmon light.

The last time I was puzzled like this was on Sept. 11, when I turned my computer on to my MSN homepage, and saw a small photo of a fireball blooming, obscene and horrific, from high up the side of the first tower. I was disbelieving, even angry when I read the accompanying headline: “Airliner crashes into World Trade Center.” I thought, for the first minute or so, that it was someone’s really bad idea for a movie promotion.

Ever since then, I’ve turned my computer on in the early morning with a touch of trepidation; wary ... wondering what new, everything-changing horror I’ll find to greet me.

Paranoid? Heh.

This morning's salmon-painted world only lasted about 10 minutes. My neighbor’s roof is now its old, familiar, hard-edged pearl gray, as usual. The bare trees are the same as always. Those minutes of wonderment are over. Since the worst news on my Yahoo homepage is yet more totalitarian Bush shenanigans (he’s busily planting political officers in each government agency), I’m relieved that those strange minutes were caused by something as simple, predictable, natural and harmless as a sunrise.

But I do wish it would rain.

3 comments:

Connie said...

That's a relief isn't it?

I've had that same eerie feeling.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

I love those weirdly lit times -- usually after or before huge storms where I live. Pittsburgh's a hilly place -- not quite "mountains," but just large rolling hills, crammed with homes. Mine sits atop one such hill and looks off over a large valley that's prone, for some reason, to developing rainbows from time to time. And that's when that odd light usually falls over the place. And it always draws me outside, unlike all of my neighbors who apparently couldn't care less about the natural world. But, yeah, I know just what you mean.

Madison Guy said...

What a lovely evocation of a memorable moment. Strange the connections the mind can make at moments like that, the contrast between the beauty of the natural world and the horror wrought by human beings.

I "saw" 9/11 happening on the radio while driving through the Wisconsin countryside on the way to a business meeting. Holsteins grazing in the green, sunny fields. Horses basking in the sun. And in one pond we passed, several brilliantly white swans floated lazily and majestically. And on the radio the voice of a woman announcer sobbing as she described the collapse of the towers, one after the other, made all the more unbelievable by the shocked imagination, surrounded by all that beauty.