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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Friday, August 19, 2011

Red sun in morning

Dawn arrives today with a calm sea bearing a faint, ragged red path leading directly east. A sliver of sun peeks through the fog over Vinalhaven. The sliver is pink-red. Slowly the sun inflates out of the fog until it's round, now big because of the refraction of the atmosphere, now bright red because all the moisture in the air steers away the blue part of the spectrum. It is red like a sunset, like blood in the arteries. Maybe this is the shortest day ever, a backwards day, a warning to sailors and planners and marketeers.

For 10 minutes it could be true, for the sun takes that long to rise completely out of the fog, carving an increasingly sharp trail of light on the water, turning ever so slightly orange. Birds sail through the air, unconcerned with beauty. Boats cut through the water, concerned with commerce. Any humans watching think briefly about storm warnings, then give over to the vastness of sky, the perfectibility of ocean, the balance of a speck of rock held in thrall by 93 million miles of light. They might want to go backwards, or at least hold these minutes in hand. They turn away only when the sun escapes the fog in a violent yellow burst and becomes too bright to understand.

The fog and the humidity remain over the bay for the whole day. But there's no sign of a storm tonight, except over the wires.

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