Vermilion hues tint the sky well before the sun rises, and where streaks of morning battle the indigo night, brushstrokes of crimson bleed across the stars. Once again the world provides a dawn of such unspoken beauty that its description stumbles over words and loses itself even in deft writ.
I share the moment with cypress and oak and pecan, each silently participating in the spectacle of a day’s birth. Pangs of loneliness envelope me as I long to share the experience, to speak of it in hushed tones and hurried whispers falling silently on ears eager to hear. But only trees stand watch with me.
Maybe they’re right, these quiet folk, in that talking no doubt would sully the minutes with clumsy verbal instruments best left unsaid. So I am grateful for their company. Watchers all, they have seen more wonder in the universe than I can know. Birth and death of a million days and a million lives, they stoically guard the world in statuesque defiance of all who would question them. Even the birds lighting upon their branches know better than to doubt their resolve, and in the stillness of that grows the deepest of trusts. Ah, but would I rend my own flesh to share in such a thing.
Driven from the night sky, stars blink out like lit candles blown by a gentle wind, and suddenly they’re gone with nary a goodbye. I watch in awe as one by one they step down from their celestial pedestals and disappear behind a curtain of dim sunlight that struggles to seize the heavens. They will be back, I know, and I will once again share the darkness with their brilliance. But must they go so soon?
As the light of a new day crawls over the horizon and makes its way toward me, the limbs of my fellow spectators bend effortlessly at the touch of a warm breeze, a zephyr blowing across the water without losing its virulence. They wave in greeting to the winged riders carried on its breath. Some flit amongst the branches, landing here and there in what seems haphazard fashion. However, I suspect this waltz has been danced so many times before that it has become a habit for all of them, the birds and the trees and the wind, a careful ballet to greet the first light and each other.
All too soon, awash in brightening reaches stretched from horizon to horizon, the stars are gone. I wish them luck during their absence, and I assure them I will be here when they return. Stillness is the response.
More and more the indigo retreats toward the west until it disappears, giving way to azure, then sapphire, and finally cyan. All the while, vermilion races across the heavens until it too is pushed from existence. In its wake, amber and gold first, and then, finally, bright yellow just before the sun climbs into the sky, a solar parade of one carefully offering its brilliance to all who welcome it, and forcing it on all others.
Even as dwellers of the day stretch and yawn and begin their rituals of wakefulness, beasts of various sizes and shapes, nocturnal the lot of them, scamper and scurry by as they make their way toward sleep, each to its den or burrow or nest or other place for daytime slumber. We, the birds and trees and I, watch carefully, not interfering, and perhaps envy the nighttime creatures their escape from the busy world getting started around us.
Finally, as though a change of shift has taken place, one kind of life gives way to another, leaving only the beings of light in a world of light. I find myself sated by the imagery and vision of what has taken place, the transformation of existence, the migration of living things. Before starting the journey toward home, I bid farewell to all who have shared the moment with me. It would not have been the same without them.