Yesterday’s morning sky bloomed with clouds like roses on fire, a sunrise wearing the colors of a sunset, heralding the snowfall to come.
If I had not been able to sleep, I would have missed that dawn. I was in and out of bed, restless with endless ideas, retreated from the internet, and had only made my stubborn melancholy worse. Even though the first weeks of January had been unusually warm here at home, a lonely darkness settled inside of me that blocked out the sun, and I had to ride it out as one does a storm. It is during these times I think of your smile, recall your laugh, drink in all my good memories of you, and even when I cry out of fear I will never see you again, the tears are a relief. It was just after a good relieving weep like that, and a quick wash of my face, that I happened to pause before my living room window to look outside. That rose-tinted sky was like an atomic bomb had broke open the horizon. I had seen this sort of morning sky before and I was never sure I would see a Wisconsin sky colored that intense ever again.
It made me wonder for a second if the end of the world had come.
It was just a second of panic, the kind I feel whenever I think what will I do if I’m about to die right now or what will I do if you die? I start to think of all the things I want to do right now before I die. I want to tell death itself to wait awhile and let me spend more moments I didn’t get to have. Then I realize that I’m still breathing, I’m alive, you’re alive, the world is still alive, and that I have seen that atomic rose-pink sky before.
Nature replays scenes like this.
These moments only seem to appear and disappear at random. Every time I think I will never again see something like this, it shows up, comes and goes just like you do. Just like winter is sure to make things cold before spring warms us up for the summer and summer falls into cold for autumn to call back winter again. Life and death repeat, too. I keep forgetting that to every ending there is a beginning, and to every parting there is reunion.
You are not here but you are not gone!
I wasn’t thinking of these things as I threw on my coat and slippers to capture that fiery dawn sky with my camera. I didn’t care that my slippers got wet from melting frost as I stood there in the dead grass for nearly twenty minutes with my finger constantly on the shutter release, snapping away like no tomorrow. Taking photo after photo, as my mother used to say like it’s going out of style I was stocking up, not even paying attention to the deer watching me from the trees (normally I’d be taking their pictures like crazy) and not even caring that I was not properly dressed (at least I had a coat on). It was good luck for me that it was humid, something I finally noticed once the sky began to fade pale blue. By then my sudden turning about spooked the deer, and as they fled, I noticed something else…
Many little birds, normally silent during winter, were out making lots of noise, not singing, but busy noise, signaling that, indeed, snow was on the way. If the sky does not tell you snow is coming, then the little birds will tell you by the way they behave.
By nightfall, when the sky turned into that deep hazy purple-pink — you know the way it gets? — filled with clouds that seem to be lit up with a glow, yet all is too thick to see through, that is when it began. First the teasing little bits of white, then the dizzying drifts blown in every direction, growing into the biggest flakes, the ones that look like they could cover a dinner plate and landing without a sound. The air is almost like when it rains, but snow has that smell to it, one I can’t really describe. Remembering it draws me into my blankets.
Tonight’s sky is clear and sparkling, studded with the stars, very cold, like outer space cold. The crystal sparkle of the snow mirrors the stars. The snow-covered ground almost looks as if iced by white cake frosting but it is hard as quartz crystal. As others complain about the return of our January cold, I smile. I have decided to love every moment of it, love it now so I can appreciate it all the more months from now when I’ll be sweating and sun-kissed in the August heat.