Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Extraordinarily Ordinary



Mid-summer came in on a heat wave before several days of the intense heat culminated in a fierce fury of wind and rain punctuated by brilliant and jagged flashes of lighting. Thunder boomed and rolled and crashed in its wake. When the wildness abated, a cool and welcomed stillness descended, and sometime in the far reaches of the night, a thick mist fell over the pond and the fields, melting the boundaries of wood and meadow and road. When the sun rose again, its own margins were obscured so all that was visible was a pulsing silver light. Here and there the fog swirled and eddied, rising like disturbed ghosts.

The familiar had become suddenly mysterious. When I walked out into the morning, it was as though I'd entered a magical place. The tops of the tallest trees were lost in the mist. Shafts of milky sunlight penetrated the undergrowth, highlighting a trunk here, a limb there. Hundreds of spider webs were strung from the meadow grasses. Dew-struck and glistening, they spread to the edges of the field like miniature satellite dishes – spiders tuning to the far reaches of the universe. There was not a breeze to disturb them.

A bright bit of orange caught my eye. An anxious maple leaf, I thought, but then it fluttered, and leaf became bird as a Baltimore Oriole hopped among the tree branches. In like manner a yellow leaf transformed itself into a finch. How quickly the extraordinary becomes ordinary. Suddenly the morning was filled with birdsong and as if on cue, the mist disappeared. Somewhere a dog barked and the air was filled with tiny blue and yellow butterflies flitting in the warmth of an everyday sun.

By noon, the heat was building again. The sun became a molten ball glaring fiercely from a pale blue sky. Nothing stirred save the cicadas, whose insistent buzzing only served to make the day seem hotter. Great thunderheads towered over the edges of the mountains and spread themselves out until the sky looked like an angry bruise. There was no magic now, only a distant, threatening rumble that presaged another storm. A gust of wind brought a hint of cooler air and suddenly the clouds burst, spewing rain. Lightning tore the curtain of darkness again and again and thunder made the windows rattle.

Finally, just before sunset, the storm trailed off to the south. The wind died, the rain ceased, and the sun crept out from behind a remnant of cloud to paint the sky in evening shades of crimson and orange and sky-blue pink. Columns of stealthy mist drifted up from the cooling earth, ghosts of darkness gathering the light until once again the landscape was shrouded in secrecy.








Thank you Hilary

19 comments:

June said...

I need to come back and read this again and again. It's beautifully moody.
...and I love "dewstruck"!

Brian Miller said...

very cool capture of the day...it has been smoking hot here too...and we have had some wicked storms, always love to go out after and see the peace and...

Reya Mellicker said...

This is the essence of the shamanic lifestyle, Pauline. A leaf becomes a bird, the ordinary becomes mysterious and beautiful. I always say to people that the world I live in is a lot more interesting than their plain ole mundane worlds - though that world is beautiful, too.

I love the way you describe it. Wow!

Barbara Shallue said...

Just beautiful - I was right there with you! (enjoying the rain!)

Out on the prairie said...

I would welcome a day like this.Lovely descriptions left me even smelling the morning dew.

Judith said...

This is such an extraordinary piece (which I doubt will get to ordinary) that I've already shared it with a couple of folks, and undoubtedly will share it still more.
Outstanding, magical, all those good things everybody says, and more.

Pauline said...

June - making up new words is such fun ;)

Brian - I hide during the storms themselves but love the feel of the air after one.

Reya - I always wanted to be a shaman

Barbara - tomorrow's rain should be gentle. The storms have been violent lately!

OOTP - one of the best things about after-storm air is the scent.

Barbara said...

I love the effect of a quick but powerful summer storm. The rain here heralded a few days of relief from the intense heat. Unfortunately rumor has it that the heat will build once again to that same place and even higher. At least we don't have to be bothered with heavy winter coats!

Pauline said...

J - thanks! I haven't lost my bard status then? ;)

Barbara - I heard that same rumor. I hope not to unpack that winter coat for months yet!

Ruth said...

Oh dear, I don't like that rumor, though I guess we are in the thick of it here at the lake, where it is already quite warm at 4 in the morning, and was all night.

I do like your gorgeous descriptions of the mysterious and ghost-like world around you, and the storm. Just lovely writing.

Hilary said...

Pauline, you write like a dream. I can't think of anyone I'd rather hear describe the day. Your words are enchanting.

Pauline said...

Thank you Ruth - another storm did come and the coming week looks like it will bring a lot of needed rain. I can do without the lightning, though!

Hilary - that is a lovely compliment and I thank you!

ladyfi said...

What a marvellous and dreamy description!

Charissa Steyn said...

That's beautiful... i really don't like thunderstorms, especially the ones here in South Africa... there are HUGE! But I must say your post makes them seem so beautiful :)

Suldog said...

Congrats on POTW. Nicely written!

ds said...

Gorgeous write. Congratulations on your POTW!

Grayquill said...

I would say, that is pretty gosh darn good writing but that would be a considerable understatement. I think I will just say, WOW, and thank you, and leave it at that. I think I am in the presence of a master. Congrats on the POTW

Pauline said...

Thanks for stopping by, ladyfi

Charissa - storms here can be beautiful but they frighten me just the same!

Thanks Suldog, you of the entertaining posts!

Thank you as well, ds

Grayquill - thank you for the kinds words. I've had lots of practice ;)

Wendy said...

What an awesome post! I love that last pic. And the "talking flowers" in another post of yours.
Found you by way of Hilary. Congrats on the POW award!!