Thursday, December 5

space rainbows

I should've been sleeping on that 5 a.m. flight from Boston to Charlotte. but it isn't often you get to see stars from a vantage point above the cloudline, or watch the sunlight tear holes in the dark sky while you're thousands of miles above the earth.

I didn't bother photographing Cassiopeia or her scattered entourage. at one point, though, it was as if all the planes and stars would stay floating, swimming together forever along in an unending soup of night. all around us were pinpricks of light, some twinkling, some moving, all of them too small and distant to seem thoroughly real.

every so often the ridges and cobbles of cloud cover would thin and I'd see orange smudges and sparkles of earthly civilizations. the larger cities, as they collectively woke, looked like squid, squashed and jewel-encrusted.

the sunrise began as nothing but a grey smudge. over the course of what felt like hours, the smudge turned steely blue, eventually brightening--as if layers of night's black curtain were being shaved very gradually away, leaving nothing but a transparent and barely-held-together fuzz.

the cold steel stripe spread slowly, stretching and rolling out from under the cloud cover, revealing first a muddy pink underbelly and then a soft, smooth grapefruit-colored streak.

I should've been sleeping, but I kept my head turned to watch that grapefruit color swell and intensify into mild red-orange. the blue spiked close to neon. hints of pale, pale green nestled shyly inbetween the two. a few razorlike slits of clouds tore open that rosy burning to start letting puddles of oozy red collect around them.
that little stripe of lighted sky became an almost neon rainbow, bounded on both sides by black.
I started wondering if every rainbow could be considered a sort of mini-sunrise--one where light creeps little by little around and through previously dark pockets of atmosphere.

or could it be that every sunrise is really a version of a rainbow? light being bent around various particles of dust and air and vapor?

either way, I should've been sleeping on this flight... but I wasn't. for whatever it's worth, I would pretty much always rather be watching sunrises than sleeping.


Chris said...

Wow. You should be a writer.

amelia chesley said...

and what does that mean, to be a writer? do I have enough earmarks yet?