Today, at 4:36 a.m., I was surprised to find fierce orange burning in the sky and water at the east end of the lake at Imago Dei Camp which, from where I was sitting in the Woodlands Lodge, seemed in the distance to narrow to a point of fire.
By 5:12 a.m., that fiery orange had filled the sky and water even to the shore of the lake I could see only twenty yards away through the trunks of trees and their green leaves.
But at 5:14 a.m., the orange suddenly disappeared altogether. What little water and sky I could see through the woods became bone white with only a hint of orange. The white sky soon turned gray; shadows falling into the water along the shore made the water appear to be a deep, dark green.
I suppose clouds had crowded eastward while I worked, drawing their shade down to the horizon. Where I could see only a few orange sparks through the fragments of sky left between the leaves.
How quickly the clouds quenched the cheery fire of the sun’s rising. Just so quickly sadness, desperation, fear, frustration inundate our souls, wash away all but flickers of the blaze of the source of all light. Fleeting that light seems, like falling stars.
The woods, however, are alive, luxuriant, because of the rains that fell out of the clouds yesterday, that poured, pattered, and drifted through the sky as a misty haze throughout the day. And the larvae of all manner of flying pests which infest the woods are wriggling happily in the still, warm, green soup covering the foot of earth’s slight slope, its toes in the waters. Those wrigglers being snapped up by fish, happier still. Life abounds in, depends upon the gray rain, though it feels dreary to us.
In some philosophical traditions, some of which form the foundation of democracy and science, feelings were mistrusted, perhaps too mistrusted, so mistrusted that the social orders founded on them took no account of feelings. It’s a good thing that proceedings conducted under Robert’s Rules of Order preclude applause on principle, since outbursts of emotion detract from strict presentations of facts. It is not good, however, when principles are applied without regard to human pain.
At 5:32, it has started to rain.
Sponge cushions in canvas shoes will squeech with water today; spirits will be dampened. Plans will be changed. It’s not, of course, that the sun is gone, but neither should you bet your bottom dollar that it will come out tomorrow. Homes built on bluffs from which gaudy sunsets may be seen may yet slide into the sea. But the sun will shine again, and their thirst quenched, green creatures will grow rapidly and exhale the oxygen we need to counteract the increasing tonnage of carbon we spew into the air; during dreary years trees grow wide, golden rings seen only if their fallen trunks are sawn.
An hour later it is still raining. I am still working, though I’d rather be out singing in the rain. Robert Frost wrote the words to the song I’d sing:
“The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.”