I am startled to awake today to sunshine and blue sky. December in our valley has been smothered in dark clouds whose only asset has been the beauty of the snows that have softened the hard edges of the cold.
But now, as December moves toward the last days of the year, the sky has freed itself quite suddenly from cloud and darkness. The rising sun seeks breaks within the icy creek and lights a fire in its frost-chilled ripples. The tree tops on the valley's rim pick up the brightness.
Preening in the unacustomed light, the sycamores stand tall along the waterway, stretching slender fingers upward to the blue, their trunks extending long and white below into the creek's reflective waters, like the legs of dancing showgirls.
For all the morning's newborn clarity, the day is very cold; the air is frozen into brittle stillness. A jet trail paints its gleam across the eastern sky, and that cold beauty somehow makes me think of children sticking tongues on frozen flag poles.
The concrete cherub sitting naked on my entry step is bathed in sun that bears no warmth; I know that little guy would shiver if he could.
But I am comfortable and warm inside my house, and so I look away and daydream over coffee. And when I look again, the sky is thickly clothed again in clouds.
Like a bright idea quickly lost, the day has lost its brilliance.