The red

LIKE mighty footlights burned the red
At bases of the trees,—
The far theatricals of day
Exhibiting to these.

’T was universe that did applaud
While, Chiefest of the crowd,
Enabled by his royal dress,
Myself distinguished God.

~Emily Dickinson
Image via

Ah, that autumn light. It’s different this time of year. Sunsets are sharper somehow, the clear blue line of the Alleghenies hard and crisp against the watercolor sky. The light is different all day. As I write this, it’s still pitch place outside. A month or so ago, the sun would have risen by now. Now, we wait in darkness for the sunrise, rise and begin the day without light.

The afternoon sun is different, too. It feels more golden, more precious, the light pouring down as if to make up for the fact that it will be leaving us sooner.

And then, the sunsets. They creep up on us. It seems that much color in the sky should make a sound, but you can miss it completely in its silence if you’re not paying attention. The red of the sunset is like footlights summoning us to a show that is the lights themselves. It’s noiseless and over quickly.

These days, the light hoards itself. We begin to light candles, fires, make our own tiny suns in the cold dark.

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