I am so often astounded by the beauty of light – astounded and sustained and sometimes overwhelmed. As the old hymn says, “I scarce can take it in”. I feel like a connoisseur lucis, or perhaps a collector, though I lack the skills to keep a collection, such as photographs or film, and the desire; one of the things I love about it is its temporality.
Last night we were blessed with a new one: unearthly, lambent moonglow through icefog. Usually, moonlight through fog is bluish or gray, but this time the near field took on an amber tinge, while the middle distance leaned more to violet. There was no background other than a gauzy pellucid scrim of gray so diffuse as to make you think there was nothing beyond it, except for the invisible snowmobiles – we have a county trail we’ve allowed to run through our property 1/4 mile east of the house – whose grinding roar conjured an arctic dragon in my imagination, chewing the lake ice to fuel his frosty breath weapon. Above the backdrop was a circle of sky, with slightly out-of-focus stars and moon – it must be like this to be in a snow globe, looking up as the flakes settle.
And this morning, an exquisite hoarfrost – one of the thickest I’ve seen – with more shades of white in the predawn than I thought possible, then brilliantly sparkling as the sun rose, almost blinding. With the relative heat, a frostfall begins, snowing on me and the dogs when we walk below branches.
Such moments of grace are ample compensation for a Minnesota winter that, as Mr. Keillor says, makes a concerted effort every year to kill you.
I’m afraid the dogs are going to miss snow. Oberon, with his 3-foot high haunches, trots through it like the proudest of showhorses, while border collie puppy Titania leapfrogs until it gets too deep, and then burrows. Then again, dogs have such a gift for living in the moment that they’ll likely just find new joys in mud, tall grass and fallen leaves as the seasons progress.