Tosh and I take a short walk every morning at around 5:15 – we move out, with a sense of purpose: just long enough for Tosh to do his doggy business, but just short enough that I don’t freeze in the winter mornings.
The moon was bright this morning. Not bright enough for me to completely see by (some less-fastidious dog walkers are not as courteous as I would like on our suburban woodland paths), but bright enough to marvel at, especially since it is past full.
Our path brings us into the sheltering woods and then out into an field of sorts – not a mowing field, as we had in the country, but green grass covering a suburban earthworks: a drainage pond fronted by a high, dramatic berm. But the sky is a field’s sky – it is wide and open. Coming out of the woods, my eyes played strange tricks on me – the expanse of sky was piebald with dark and light patches, but my brain could not make sense of them immediately. The dark – clouds? But the moon was so bright – aha. The bright was reflection on the clouds against the dark, clear sky. After this moment of disorientation, I snapped off my light to stand in the freezing air and watch the clouds.
Ever have that moment where you’re looking at a piece of art and you say, “Yes, very pretty – but not realistic.” And then, months or years later, you see that “unrealistic” thing happen in nature? Like the deep purple skies of a twighlight Maxfield Parrish painting. “Maybe on Mars,” you think, “Or a place in a book – I’ll bet Narnia had twighlight skies like that in C.S. Lewis’ imagination.” And then you’re out on a country road, and the molecules have lined up just right to give you a radiance-drenched, deep purple post-sunset sky right here on Earth? These clouds were like that. They looked like anime or the woodblock animations so often used to depict Native American legends. Stately and stylized, they moved swiftly, like great cutouts of tissue, never changing shape in the predawn sky.