Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Perfect Light

The alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. and I inwardly groaned that I had set it for such an early time on Christmas Eve, of all days.  Then, I started to think of all of the joyful things I would be doing today and I more eagerly crawled out of bed.  By that time, Larry was standing at the south-facing bedroom window, staring out into the darkness.  He called to me to join him.  There before us in the inky, early-morning sky was a most spectacular display.  Everywhere to the east and south were bright vertical bands of light shining down from the heavens, some narrow, some wide, some bright, some faint.  We had never seen any such thing, so we stood speechless at the window.  We finally tore ourselves away from the scene to start our morning routine, with me making the bed and Larry braving the temperature to get the newspaper in its box at the end of the driveway. No sooner did he walk outside than Larry was back at the door, beckoning me to join him outside.  I hustled to get on my long down-filled coat, hat, gloves and boots, a feat unto itself during the middle of the day, but somehow more onerous in the early morning.  But, the hustle and hassle were worth it.  As we stood in the driveway, we gasped as the bands of light surrounded us in all directions. Overhead was a half-moon and dozens of bright stars.  Some of the bands ran vertically from sky to earth, while others hung mysteriously as if they were suspended.  Some of the nearby bands sparkled with snow crystals.  The thermometer registered six degrees below zero, but we weren't affected by the cold.  We were silent, content while surrounded by perfect light.  There must be some long scientific name for such a phenomenon, but I prefer to think of it simply as a Christmas gift. Within a half-hour, the sun was starting to creep into the distant sky and our light display was mysteriously gone.  What better morning to see such a sight, I thought, than the day that would lead to Christmas Eve?  Indeed, all was calm, all was bright.

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