Sometimes, when dawn comes just before the leading edge of a storm front has stretched entirely toward the east, there’s the least bit of a rim of clear sky, a border of light between the night that still covers the earth and the flush of morning’s coming. I remember one of those times from many years ago when we were living in Cynthiana, Kentucky.
Driving to work in the slow brightening, I saw the occasional paleness leaching through a thinner section of dark, dappled clouds. Halfway between Leesburg and Oxford, as the curve of the road coincided with a dip in the near ridge line, giving me a view clear to the horizon, I saw, suddenly, a blast of red filling the break between earth and storm dome. Not in hues and tones like the light of a fire but a solid shade, the red of steel ripe for the anvil. Brilliant but not blinding, it forged a beacon in the sky. Then, in only a moment, it passed into softer shades, strangely dimming in the rising of sun, then covered by ridge and clouds.
There are those moments in life, like the first lifting of a toddler’s hands, to stand unsupported, for only an instant, while parents applaud. Like the first word of a grandchild on the phone five hundred miles away. Like an unexpected call from a friend from years ago or the embrace of a grown child back home from overseas.
In mind’s eye and memory, the fragile joys of this life are held, not so much for remembering the past as for reminding us of a greater glory.