Tuesday, May 10, 2011

He Descends in His Chariot

Between 7:30 and 8:00 pm today I was walking to the grocery store and saw a sublime sight. Over to the West the sun was setting, but it was clothed with a great thundercloud coming out of the West at the same time. The sun, still too bright to look at directly, set the entire cloud aflame with a splendid rose-gold, and all around the sun there was lightning, both in the clouds and between the clouds and the ground.

I wish I had had a camera with me, but no photograph could capture the experience of being there. The epiphany of the sun covered quite literally half the sky, while the lightning cast electric-white light on everything below at every strike. There was thunder in the air, but not merely that, there was thunder in the ground as well, reverberating upward through the soles of the feet; on the skin I could feel both the electric charge in the air and the alternating stillness and gust of the wind; and every so often the gust would bring a hint, and only a hint, of the tang of spring rain.

It did not last long; perhaps no more than twenty minutes; then the sun continued to descend the cloud continued its way, and they both became their ordinary selves. Then the sky itself began to weep great drops of cold rain and night fell on everything.

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