It was nearly 7 a.m. and 14 degrees under a pale blue sky dappled with speeding, silvery-outlined golden clouds just overhead. I was north of town, in the countryside, walking swiftly to an opening in the forest for a view to the southeast where planet Venus might still be visible. Once there, I scanned above the horizon in the clear, soft blue atmosphere. I could not find the point of crystalline light that I knew would have met my eyes had I arrived earlier. Planet Venus, the Morning Star, had disappeared in the sunrise glow. My purpose was thwarted.
Glancing up, I was surprised by a stray fluffball of a pink cloud floating close above me. I laughed with delight as it moved passed, turning purple where its shadow side met my eastward gaze. Alder catkins – small, brown, flower bud spikes borne in threes at the tips of the twigs – drew a gay birdsfoot pattern on the brightening sky.
I walked on, following the curve and rise of a country lane that had recently become a rutted track of frozen mud. Slender, graceful American beech tree branches extended their bud-tipped twigs into the roadway. To my left, through forest, a fiery band of ragged orange clouds now sat on the east-southeast horizon. The Sun was under the hill, climbing to top it as I climbed beside it, but it was hidden except for the fire it set in the rim of clouds.
I burst into song.
Hello, hello hello there
Hello my beautiful Sun
Hello hello hello there
Hello oh glorious one
Hello hello hello hello hello
A rising and falling melody had erupted with the words. As I walked, singing, I breathed more deeply, my lungs expanding, and I sang louder, playfully operatic. Inspired by nature, I often invent emotive tunes.
The ridge of deep, fiery red-orange clouds to the east was now golden. When I turned around at the crest of the hill, I saw brilliant light with a rosy glow spread across the top of the mountain to the southwest, above the dim hillside below, where I stood. A view of sunrise had come to the highest hilltops in the west before the Sun would rise above the hills that block the horizon view at my lookout to the east.I descended the hill and arrived at the clearing a moment before the Sun began its ascent, ever so slowly, over the far forested skyline. A halo, a great, diaphanous radiance surrounded the surfacing limb of frightfully brilliant light. The halo persisted; a large, soft aura rimmed with tawny gold. The lion’s mane. Then, molten white light spread at its core. And out from the sky to the land.
A gentle wind joined the Sun as day came to the foothills. Spruce trees swayed, dark under the ball of white fire. Each stem of the alder copse reflected white light as together they moved in unison.
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