I had lost track of how many days had passed since every fraction of the sky had become gray and since that intransigent color had stained the fields and the trees in flat browns and tans. Each early morning I watched the eastern sky for the telltale band of red that offers the promise of sun, but each morning a flat, dripping, implacable land glistened into view. The gray forced its way inside me too. Suddenly, I wanted to grow an enormous beard, a world-class two foot squared piece of gristle, one that would scare nasty children and horses, and then I wanted to buy a long rifle and kill something big and wear its fur and sit in front of a fire speaking gutter Norwegian and kicking back aquavit.
Philadelphia offers 93 days of full sun, 25% of each year as a time when we might stretch out on rocks like lizards and make happy lizard sounds.* The rest of the time, 270 days, we must deal with a partial or full sun-out, and in this last stretch of January the sun acted like a capricious vampire-god deciding that the time had come to introduce all of us to a taste of life in steel colored light, to damp, cold-mudded melancholy. I do not care about the cold. Let the polar-vortex return, but I must have more light.
Finally, on Thursday morning at the Refuge, I looked across the meadow and saw shreds of lavender and pinkish wires of color threaded in the gray. A promise. Two dogs later, I saw blue behind the gray, there and gone and there again. The landscape had brightened. I could feel a physical lifting of gloom. Later that morning, the Sun slipped closer yet behind light, gray- gossamer strands and a few minutes later, it stood clear in a bright blue sky. All the gray had gone. I stood in the yard with my face turned to it and gave off long sighs. I lay down on the sidewalk and looked straight up into the great blue of the clear sky, a restorative, such a balm and comfort, and I thought that perhaps tonight the Sun might follow me into sleep, and there I might dream dazzling dreams, yellow dreams.
Painting: Noon or The Siesta by Van Gogh